Pub catering already “challenging enough” without calorie menu burden

Microwaves in Fuller’s kitchen

The British Institute of Innkeeping, which represents some 9,000 pubs across the UK, insists that offering food in pubs is already “challenging enough” without the prospect of mandatory calorie labelling.

The government this week launched a public consultation on calorie labelling in a move that the BII thinks could bring more pain for pubs that are already under the cosh.

CEO Mike Clist blasted: “The BII are concerned that government is considering yet more red tape, thus increasing the costs of running pubs that are already under severe pressure from the impact of business rates, sugar tax, auto enrolment pensions, beer duty and many other areas of legislation that add costs to our members’ businesses.”

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He added: “Dealing with allergens, making the most of seasonal produce and keeping menus varied and interesting in a competitive marketplace, makes offering food in pubs challenging enough without the pressure of calorie counting. A visit to a pub or restaurant is normally a celebration or treat and surveys have told us that even in venues that do give advice on the number of calories contained in a meal, it is often ignored.”

Mr Clist said the BII believes that the beneficial effects of pubs in counteracting loneliness and making pubs the centre of their local communities are far more important issues to consider, which is why it is supporting the #longlivethelocal campaign.

“We will be encouraging government to look at reducing the overall tax burden on our pubs and to announce the reform of business rates as well as reducing rates and duty at the next budget,” he said.

The BII is not the only industry body to hit out at calorie labelling plans.

Earlier this month, UKHospitality said the knock-on effect of mandatory calorie labelling would almost certainly mean higher prices and reduced investment in businesses.

“There is also a serious potential that mandatory calorie labelling would undermine businesses’ efforts to tackle food waste which is a growing concern for consumers and an area of innovation for businesses,” said UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls.

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Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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