Mandatory calorie labelling would harm pubs and brewers as they begin to recover from Covid-19 — that’s the response of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) as the government unveils its obesity strategy.
As part of the strategy, the government has said it will require large restaurants, including managed pubs operated by companies with more than 250 employees, to include calorie information on their food menus. It will also encourage smaller businesses to voluntarily provide calorie information, and will consider making them display calories in the future.
The BBPA, while welcoming the initial exemption for very small pub businesses, says such measures would be extremely costly for those pub businesses employing more than 250 employeesn at a time when they are recovering from Covid-19, and could also lead to restricted choice for consumers.
Extending mandatory calorie labelling to smaller pubs would disproportionately affect them and their suppliers, and many local, community pubs could struggle to implement changes, it says.
The government has also announced it will launch a consultation on alcohol calorie labelling, as part of the new strategy. The consultation is to take place before the end of the year and will cover calorie labelling on drinks sold in pubs, including draught beer.
The BBPA says such burdensome red tape would further hinder brewers and pubs when they are trying to get back on their feet, post Covid-19 lockdown, and already operating under unusual circumstances, with social distancing in place. It says that many UK brewers have already committed to voluntarily providing calorie information on their labels.