A blanket calorie cap on meals served by restaurants would represent an “impractical imposition on business”, the UK’s largest hospitality body has warned.
The Chief Medical Officer today published a report containing a series of proposals aimed at tackling childhood obesity.
Among the proposals are a calorie cap per serving of food and drink sold by the out-of-home food sector and a review of VAT rates on food and drink.
But the idea has been met with contempt by UKHospitality, which thinks it puts an unreasonable burden on foodservice operators.
Chief executive, Kate Nicholls, blasted: “A blanket cap on calories for all portions of food and drink consumed out-of-home sounds like a knee-jerk, impractical and unfair measure. We are supportive of measures to tackle childhood obesity, but a cap on all portions clearly removes choice for all customers irrespective of age.
“Such a cap would cause problems for businesses, not to mention the obvious reduction in choice for customers and restricting of personal freedoms for adults who should be able to choose for themselves.”
Mrs Nicholls said that UKHospitality and its members would welcome the opportunity to work with the government to tackle childhood obesity, and that promoting healthier attitudes to food and drink is important for hospitality businesses.
“Many businesses have been working hard to cut calories from their menus and provide greater choice for customers and we are keen to continue that work,” she argued.
Mrs Nicholls suggested that reducing the rate of VAT for healthier options on menus could be a good way to promote healthier choices.
“We would certainly be interested in exploring options to reduce costs for businesses providing healthy food and drink for customers. Many businesses have been hammered by increasing costs, so making it cheaper and easier for them to provide healthy options would be a good move.”