We Could be Seeing the Calorie Count on our Favorite Dishes at Restaurants
A recent poll has suggested that most diners would like to be informed of the calorie count of restaurant meals before they order them. The survey, which was carried out for Diabetes UK showed that 60% of those who completed the survey would be far more likely to choose a menu if these details were provided. Nearly as many also added that they would be more likely, and would prefer to go to a restaurant or café which also offered a ‘reduced calorie’ range.
The research was carried out by ComRes, and surveyed more than 2,000 adults, as part of a follow up on a childhood obesity strategy, which included recommendations for the clearer labeling of foods. The plans are also likely to including a clamp down on advertising, which would call for a complete ban of the advertising of junk food before the 9pm watershed.
Diabetes UK called on the Government to start putting a traffic light labeling on all pre-packaged food and drinks, and want to take this further by introducing regulations that would ensure all restaurants are providing their diners with information regarding the calorie count of all of their meals. Although some restaurants already do this, the call would be for all eating establishments to show the calorie content of their food.
Speaking of the findings, Helen Dickens, who is the charity’s assistant director of campaigns and mobilisation said;
“These findings are a clear indicator, not only to the Government, but also to the food and drink and service industries, that the public has an appetite to see better information about the food they’re buying, and they’re willing to vote with their wallets. It’s not just good for the health of the public; it’s good for business as well.”
So why the clampdown? Statistics show that two in three adults, and one in three children leaving primary school, in the UK are currently overweight or obese. Dickens added;
“It’s becoming increasingly difficult for the Government, and industry, to ignore the wishes of the consumer. The British public have spoken, and it’s time for government to act, and take this simple, bold step to improving the health of the nation.”
In 2017, the Public Health England called on restaurants, retailers and manufacturers to cut the calories in foods by 20 percent by 2024; and a number of charities have also called for there to be a clampdown on ‘2 for 1’ promotions on healthy items, such as chocolate, and for a ban on allowing any junk food restaurants to open within 400 metres of a school.
So, will it work? Well research has already suggested that it is working, as it was discovered that by putting the calories on restaurant and café menus has cut the intake by around 12%, and that if consumers were given more information about the calories in meals, they were likely to think carefully about what they chose to order. Researchers looked at the evidence gathered from 28 studies and found that research suggested that the presence of labels were likely to cut the calorie intake by an eighth.