Calorie Labelling Becomes Mandatory in UK

Katie Paterson

September 7, 2020

Mandating Calorie Labelling in the UK for out-of-home food establishments


What are the new regulations around calorie labelling?

The government have introduced the “Better Health” campaign which aims to decrease the rate of obesity in the UK.

To achieve their goal, out-of-home establishments with over 250 employees across the company will have to add calorie labels to their food.

Guidelines for different establishments

- Restaurants will need to have the calories of each dish on their menus, whether that is a digital or paper menu.

- Anywhere offering a buffet service will have to label each food at the point of choice, for example at a breakfast buffet each component will have an individual label i.e. 1 rasher of bacon = 50 calories.

- Prepacked food for direct sale (PPDS) prepared on-site will also need a calorie label either on its packaging or at the point of choice.

- Items displayed on a hot counter packed at the customer’s request (A sausage roll put in packaging after the customer has chosen).

- Exemptions include specials and condiments, loose fruit and vegetables and items which typically require further preparation (uncooked meats and fish).

Why is obesity an issue?

Obesity can lead to several health problems, including heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and now Covid-19. Putting measures in place against obesity will help take the pressure off the NHS in the future.

As it currently stands, 2/3 of adults in the UK are overweight. Covid-19 has forced the government to take steps against obesity as those who are overweight are at an increased risk of becoming seriously ill or dying from the virus (CDC Childhood Obesity, 2020).

Childhood obesity is also a rising concern in the UK. By the time children finish primary school (aged 11) one in three are already obese. Obese children are more likely to suffer from short- and long-term health problems (CDC Childhood Obesity, 2020).

To tackle this, all adverts selling foods and drinks high in sugar, salt or fat will be aired after 9 pm. Removing adverts for unhealthy foods from the television when children are watching will take away some temptation for children to eat these foods.

The government have set up a free 12-week weight loss plan through an app, Better Health, to encourage the UK to lose weight.

How will the government implement ‘Better Health’ in everyday life?

Calorie information will be displayed as a proportion of the recommended daily intake to give consumers some context of what the calories mean. These values will be based on a woman’s daily reference intake.

Shops will not be able to use “Buy one get one free” incentives on unhealthy foods and will be pushed to offer more discounts on fruit and vegetables. This will help those who currently cannot afford to eat a well-balanced, healthy diet the chance to do so.

The UK buys more food on offer than any other European country. A study in 2018 showed that 40% of products in prominent areas of supermarkets were all high in sugar, this causes shoppers to unknowingly buy more unhealthy food. Supermarkets will swap the promotional items for healthier alternatives to adhere to new government guidelines.

Future Plan

The government may be implementing calorie labelling on alcoholic drinks with over 1.2% alcohol volume as the UK public are generally not aware of the number of liquid calories that alcohol contains. Of adults in the UK that drink alcohol, nearly 10% of their daily calorie intake comes from alcoholic drinks (RSPH Alcohol Calorie Labelling, 2019).

How NT Assure can help?

We can help you calculate the calories and nutrition in your food to comply with the new labelling requirements. We also offer print services to correctly label your products in line with the PPDS (prepacked for direct sale) legislation beginning October 2021.

We have developed our software in partnership with Brother’s Printers, who provide industry-leading print hardware for an end to end print solution. Our software services will help manage your data, giving you real-time information about your products.

For more information, or to book a calorie labelling consultation or our Smart Supplier software, give us a call on 01933 272089 or email at

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