The Calorie Labelling (Out of Home Sector) (England) Regulations 2021

Molly Colbert

October 21, 2021

From the 6th of April 2022, calorie labelling will become mandatory to businesses in England that have more than 250 employees. This initiative will apply to out-of-home food businesses, such as restaurants, cafes, and takeaways. The introduction of this legislation is to tackle the UK's obesity. Before this new regulation, calorie labelling has been used to increase better food choices among consumers.

The introduction of this legislation has been quite the controversy, with a lot of debate generated on the idea of putting calories on menus. Some people have the view that it will turn consumers away from eating out and put even more strain upon businesses that have already been facing challenges throughout the pandemic. However, some people believe it will make a positive impact and will be beneficial to consumers.

What are the benefits?

Evidence has showcased that calorie labelling on menus can have a positive impact on customer food decision making. Research has proven that providing calorie information can improve customer loyalty and reduce food wastage, with some businesses reporting revenue increases of 3%.

Current Consumer Behaviour

There recently has been a shift in consumer behaviour towards eating out, as it has become increasingly more popular. Additionally, some people rely on takeaways or eating out for at least one or two of their meals a day, and the number of takeaways massively increased through the pandemic. With no food information available to consumers, it is difficult for them to know how many calories they are consuming in a sitting. Providing information on out-of-home food is one initiative that can support those who are trying to have a healthier diet. Having calorie information on menus can aid individuals in making informed food choices.

Who is affected?

The regulations laid in Parliament mandates all businesses in the out-of-home sector with 250 employees or greater in England to list calories on all non-prepacked food and soft drinks. Examples of these businesses are:

- Restaurants
- Cafes
- Bakeries
- Supermarkets
- Hotels
- Caterers
- Entertainment venues
- Franchises
- Workplaces catered by a large catering company
- Takeaways (including 3rd-party platforms)

What is involved?

Calorie information needs to be provided consistently across all available menus in a visible position. These menus can be physical, display, or digital/online. The calories stated need to reflect either the portion of food served or concerning a single portion of the food.

When providing the calorie information on a physical menu, it should be positioned next to the food pricing or description. The information should be displayed in the same size, colouring, background, and font.

For calorie information on display, it needs to be visible and identify the related food whilst being next to or within proximity of the item.
Online menus should have the calorie information displayed on each page.

Within these menu formats, the statement “Adults need around 2000 kcal a day” should be displayed to provide consumers with some context and ensure awareness of how the meal will affect their daily intake.

What can we do for you?

Our software module, Smart Chef, offers an automated nutritional information feature which is fed from our specification management system, Smart Supplier. The software shows the nutritional profile of each recipe, allowing the menu to be built factoring in the number of calories per meal.

Our point-of-sale menu management software, Smart Menu, can be fed information from Smart Chef such as the calories per portion/meal. This will ensure that the calorie quantity can be displayed clearly within the digital menus. This will ensure that FBOs meet the mandatory calorie labelling legislation come April 2022.

For more information or to speak with our team, email or ring 01933 272089 📞

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Calorie labelling in the out of home sector: implementation guidance - GOV.UK (
Eating out and takeaways: calorie labelling regulations - House of Lords Library (
A Systematic Review of Calorie Labeling and Modified Calorie Labeling Interventions: Impact on Consumer and Restaurant Behavior - Bleich - 2017 - Obesity - Wiley Online Library
calories_aej.pdf (