Hampshire pub slams calorie counts on menus at large restaurant chains as UK government measure receives mixed response

CALORIE counts on menus at large restaurant chains have been criticised by a Hampshire pub.

Thursday, 7th April 2022, 2:57 pm

The Brickmakers, in Church Road, Swanmore, posted an impassioned plea on social media after the government decision.

Management said it was against the spirit of going to a restaurant.

A statement posted on Facebook said: ‘In our opinion it’s the perfect reason to avoid them and seek out guilt-free independent places to eat like us!

Management at The Brickmakers in Church Road, Swanmore, said including calories on menus would bring up negative emotions. Picture: Sarah Standing (170782-3557).

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‘We will never put calorie counts on our menus.

‘It may be a useful tool for some but it would be impossible for us to do.’

The change is part of a government strategy to tackle obesity – with related conditions costing the NHS £6.1billion a year.

Cafes, restaurants and takeaways with 250 or more employees in England have to provide calorie counts for non-prepacked food and soft drinks, on menus and delivery platforms.

In a Public Health England survey, 79 per cent of respondents said menus should include calories for food and drinks.

The management at The Brickmakers are adamant the measure is too negative.

They said: ‘We believe if you're watching your weight you kind of know what you can eat and we can adapt options to make it suitable for you.

‘To us eating out should be a pleasure, a simple necessity made into a treat or enjoyable time out.

‘The food should be the cherry on the top, alongside good company, pleasant surroundings, friendly service.’

Representatives at eating disorder charities have also voiced their concerns.

Tom Quinn, director of external affairs at Beat, said: ‘We are extremely disappointed.

‘We know from the people we support that including calories on menus can contribute to harmful eating disorder thoughts and behaviours worsening.

‘For instance, it can increase a fixation on restricting calories for those with anorexia or bulimia, or increase feelings of guilt for those with binge-eating disorder.

He added there is little evidence including calorie information would stop people overeating.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesman said: ‘Clear food labelling plays an important role in helping people make healthier choices for themselves and their families.

‘We are all used to seeing nutritional information on products sold in supermarkets and displaying calorie information on menus can help us consume fewer calories when eating out or getting a takeaway.’