Here's How People Really Feel About Calories On Restaurant Menus

Helpful, shaming or just plain annoying?
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How do you feel when you see calories listed on restaurant menus? Helped, shamed, or just plain annoyed? Well, from this week you won’t have much choice about it.

Diners will see the calorie content of food on menus from Wednesday as part of a Government drive to tackle obesity and improve the nation’s health.

Businesses with 250 or more employees in England, including cafes, restaurants and takeaways, will be required to display the calorie information of non-prepacked food and soft drinks prepared for customers.

Calories will need to be displayed at the point of choice for the customer, such as physical menus, online menus, food delivery platforms and food labels.

The measures, which form part of the Government’s wider war on obesity, have apparently been introduced to help consumers make more informed, healthier choices when eating out or ordering takeaways.

It became compulsory for large restaurant chains in the US to add calorie menu labelling in 2018. In the UK, the government recommended voluntary menu labelling in 2011. The policy has always been controversial, with campaigners previously telling HuffPost UK it could impede recovery for people with eating disorders.

But what do customers think about it? HuffPost UK previously asked readers to share their opinions and it seemed to be a divisive topic.

Some people said they do not appreciate calorie listings and just want to enjoy eating out “in peace”.

But others said the introduction of labelling at some restaurants has positively changed their eating habits by helping them to make informed choices.

People also pointed out that calories are not everything and other nutritional values should be considered if the labelling is to be truly useful.

And some raised concerns about the impact calorie labelling has on people with eating disorders, with one woman saying she now has to avoid any restaurants that have implemented labelling because it risks damaging her recovery.

A better option, one woman argued, could be for restaurants to have nutritional information available if customers ask for it.

What do you think about nutritional labelling in restaurants? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.