Will putting meals’ calorie counts on menu make you eat more healthily? Half of diners are likely to order more nutritious dishes when restaurants are forced to introduce the measure this week, study suggests
- Diners likely to order healthier food when restaurants put calories on menu
- The new rules from this week apply to cafes, restaurants and takeaways
- It is part of a wider strategy to cut obesity and promote healthy eating
More than half of diners are likely to order healthier food when restaurants are forced to put calories on their menus from this week, a study suggests.
Some 57 per cent said the new nutritional information is likely to influence their choices but only 21 per cent believe it will help combat the nation’s obesity crisis.
The new rules require cafes, restaurants and takeaways run by firms with more than 250 employees to put calories on their menus from Wednesday.
It is part of a wider Government strategy to cut obesity and promote healthy eating.
More than half of diners are likely to order healthier food when restaurants are forced to put calories on their menus from this week, a study suggests (File image)
Conditions related to being overweight or obese across the UK cost the NHS an estimated £6.1billion each year.
Almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of adults in England are overweight or obese and one in three children leaves primary school too fat.
Vita Mojo, whose technology powers ordering systems for over 90 UK restaurant brands including Leon and Nando’s, polled 1,000 adults about the changes. It found 48 per cent already track or have an awareness of their calorie intake, with women and younger people more likely to do so.
However, campaigners at Beat, which supports people with eating disorders, warns the policy risks causing ‘great distress’ to those affected. The charity says focusing on weight, rather than health, is counter-productive.
Thomasina Miers, the former MasterChef winner and co-founder of Wahaca, the Mexican restaurant chain, described calorie counting as a ‘blunt tool for assessing goodness in food’.
She added: ‘I would love to see more emphasis on how food is grown, what chemicals were used and whether whole, fibre-rich ingredients were used.’
Almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of adults in England are overweight or obese and one in three children leaves primary school too fat (File image)
But Hugo Engel, from Leon, said: ‘In the future, we see calorie and allergen labeling being just as important as being transparent about the environmental impact of our menu.’
Official guidance to businesses on the new rules says: ‘In addition to helping consumers make healthier decisions, calorie labeling aims to encourage businesses to reformulate the food and drink they offer and provide lower calorie options.’
Stefan Catoiu, co-founder of Vita Mojo, said: ‘Our research shows consumers want to know more about what they eat as well as where the food comes from.
‘This is only going to increase, with younger generations taking even more interest.’