From Wednesday this week, customers can see exactly how many calories are in their burgers, as part of the company’s commitment to the Responsibility Deal, a new government approach to tackle public health concerns. It aims to make people more aware of the energy content of their foods, so they can make informed, healthier choices, rather than tying up the industry in red tape.
The Department of Health hopes to transform more than 5,000 high street food outlets by end of the year, with companies such as KFC, Pizza Hut, Pret A Manger and JD Wetherspoon already signed up to the scheme.
Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: “One in six meals is now eaten outside the home and for those meals we often have no idea how many calories we are eating.
“That is why this is such a great achievement by the Responsibility Deal. It will help people spot those hidden calories in their favourite foods and keep an eye on their waistlines.”
Jill McDonald, chief executive of McDonald’s UK, said: “In March we announced our intention to extend the communication of nutritional information to our customers to include displaying calories on our menu boards across the UK. This move, as part of the Public Health Responsibility Deal, supports the principles we believe are important: giving our customers clear information to help them make decisions that are right for them and provide a choice on our menu.”
Susan Jebb, Chair of the Responsibility Deal Food Network, said: “I hope this example encourages other restaurants to introduce calorie labelling and makes people question what those without calorie labelling have got to hide.”
The news comes as Which? research revealed that two-thirds of consumers think it is important to know the calorie content of food when eating out and called on restaurants to provide more calorie labelling.
Richard Lloyd, executive director of Which?, said: “Our research shows that most people want to see calorie information for their meal. We’ve found there can be huge nutritional difference between apparently similar foods.”
“If calorie labelling cannot be achieved on a voluntary basis, we want the government to make it a legal requirement.”