In a new bid to fight the increasing obesity rate in the United Kingdom (UK), a calories counting scheme will be going into effect in fast food outlets and restaurants. The UK’s Food Standards Agency has won its push to introduce American-style calorie listings to help consumers watch their weight.
According to the watchdog, British men are gaining about a quarter of their calories, and women a fifth, from dining out. British government figures suggest that two thirds of adults and a third of children are overweight. It’s warned that if trends are not reversed, this could increase to almost nine in ten adults and two thirds of children by 2050. Pizza Hut, which has about 400 restaurants and 300 takeaways in the UK, was the first to sign up to the voluntary scheme, starting summer 2009.
It’s expected that McDonald’s and Starbucks, who already have calorie counts on signs and menus in the United States (US) will also be jumping onto the bandwagon. The inspiration for the scheme came from New York, where last year, food companies with more than 15 outlets across the US were forced to display calories in the same size print as the menu or face fines.
Initial findings by New York health authorities suggest the move has been successful with consumers cutting their intake by at least 50 to 100 calories every time they purchase a meal.
Sorab Sitaram of Tabula Rasa says, “It’s a great idea for India. Nowadays a large number of customers, especially woman have started asking us what’s the calorie count in a particular dish. Putting a calorie chart on the menu will educate customers and encourage people to make healthier choices.