6th Apr 2009 - 00:00
Major catering companies including Compass Group UK & Ireland, ISS Mediclean, Sodexo and Unilever staff restaurants are to introduce calorie information on their menus for the first time.
Other groups taking part include Marks & Spencer cafes, Sainsbury's, Subway, Wimpy, and 7 Day Catering â€“ in college restaurants. These companies, along with the other nine catering groups to present this information, will begin displaying calorie details from the end of this month. By June, more than 450 food outlets across the country will have introduced calorie information, some on a pilot basis. Each company has agreed to display calorie information for most food and drink they serve, print calorie information on menu boards, paper menus or on the edge of shelves, and ensure the information is clear and easily visible at the point where people choose their food. Making calorie information available at the point of choice is the first and simplest step, which will lead to more clarity for people when eating out. Minister for Public Health Dawn Primarolo said: "We know that people want to be able to see how many calories are in the food and drink they order when they eat out. "I want to see more catering companies join this ground-breaking first group to help their customers make healthier choices." Food Standards Agency chief executive Tim Smith added: "We are pleased that such a diverse range of companies has agreed to work with us by introducing calorie labelling at the crucial point where their customers make a decision about what to eat. "Our aim is to ensure that consumers have better information so they can make informed choices to improve their diet when eating out, whether that is a snack on the go, a meal in a staff restaurant or at a table being served by a waiter." Independent research will assess how easily customers understand and use the system and gather feedback from the restaurants themselves to look at practical issues and the costs involved in providing the information. Gathering this data will inform the next steps for a wider roll-out of calorie labelling on menus. The names of the 18 companies introducing calorie information on their menus are published today in the first annual report of the Government's obesity strategy 'Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives â€“ One Year On'. The report sets out the Government's efforts to tackle obesity over the last year and plans going forward. For a full list of the 18 companies taking part visit www.food.gov.uk For a full list of the 18 companies taking part visit www.food.gov.uk