We were very pleased to see the government commit to going forward with key proposals on obesity as part of the Queen’s speech on Tuesday. These included calorie labelling in restaurants, takeaways and cafes, which we have been campaigning for.
We know that obesity is a significant risk factor for type 2 diabetes. These changes, if passed, will have a big impact on the environment we live in, helping everyone to live healthier lives. Today, the government has introduced regulations that will mean all large restaurants, cafés and takeaways in England will have to provide calorie labelling before you decide what to order.
We know that many people struggle to make informed choices about the food and drink they buy when they're out and about. This is why we called for this policy as part of our Food Upfront campaign.
Both of Houses of Parliament will debate these regulations. If they go ahead, they will come into force in April 2022. We will be following this closely.
Clear calorie labelling
We already see calorie information on packaged food and drinks in shops, and this will now be the case in restaurants and takeaways too. We also hope that displaying calories on their menus will encourage businesses to offer healthier options.
Helen Kirrane, our Head of Policy, Campaigns and Mobilisation, said: "Obesity is the single greatest risk factor for type 2 diabetes. There are an estimated 13.6 million people at increased risk of developing the condition in the UK. Tackling this health crisis is really important. We are glad that the government has committed to making large takeaway, cafe and restaurant chains in England label the food they sell. This will hopefully lead to improved menus and healthier options.
“We hope it will bring these large businesses more in line with the food retail sector when it comes to giving people clear calorie information for the food they buy. This will hopefully lead to improved menus and healthier options.”
Future proposals to tackle obesity
The government also repeated its commitment to two other key obesity policies. They aim to restrict how much unhealthy food is advertised and promoted.
As part of the upcoming Health and Care Bill, they will restrict the advertising of products that are high in fat, salt or sugar, both on TV and online. This will help to ensure that children aren’t exposed to this harmful advertising.
The government also want to introduce more rules to stop shops in England from promoting unhealthy products in store. This means shops can't include these foods in multi-buy promotions. They also won't be able to keep unhealthy foods by tills, store entrances or at the end of aisles.
We will be pushing the government to follow through with these commitments. We want them to adopt the strongest versions of the policies.