The Government has published recommended calorie caps for the food and drink and hospitality industries as part of its strategy to tackle obesity. The ambition is that businesses achieve these voluntarily by 2024/2025.

At this stage, the Government has not set out any binding legislation (like it did for the Sugar Tax) and so the participation of businesses is completely voluntary. This new health strategy is a long term one, so we could find that the Government’s approach hardens as the years progress. If so, these guidelines provide a good insight into the direction of travel.

The other big factor to consider is whether there will be a consumer expectation that brands adhere to these suggested guidelines. It will be important to continue to monitor developments in this area so brands are best placed to respond to (potential) forthcoming legislation and changing consumer needs.

The full guidelines can be read in the 59 page report here:

To summarise, for food and drink brands the calorie reduction ambitions are as follows:

  • Ready meals – 10%
  • Breaded and battered products – 10%
  • Meal centres (processed fish, shellfish, meat or poultry, vegetarian or meat alternative products in sauce, or topped with cheese without a carbohydrate component) – 10%
  • Chips and potato products – 10%
  • Garlic/cheesy bread – 10%
  • Crsips and savoury snacks – 5%

For the hospitality sector:

  • Main meals – 20%
  • Starters, side dishes, small plates – 20%
  • Children’s meals – 10%
  • Pizza – 20%
  • Pastries – 20%
  • Sandwiches – 5%