Article Text

Download PDFPDF
OP80 Energy intake during restaurant visits pre vs. post implementation of mandatory calorie labelling in the English out-of-home food sector: a repeat cross-sectional study
  1. Megan Polden1,
  2. Andrew Jones1,
  3. Michael Essman2,
  4. Jean Adams2,
  5. Tom Bishop2,
  6. Thomas Burgoine2,
  7. Stephen Sharp2,
  8. Richard Smith3,
  9. Martin White2,
  10. Eric Robinson1
  1. 1Institute of Population Health, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK
  2. 2MRC Epidemiology Unit, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK
  3. 3University of Exeter Medical School, University of Exeter, Exeter, UK


Background In April 2022, mandatory calorie labelling in the out-of-home food sector (OHFS) was introduced as a policy to reduce obesity in England. The policy requires food outlets belonging to large (>250 employees) businesses in England selling food for immediate consumption to provide caloriel labelling on all unpackaged food and non-alcoholic drink items. To date, there has been no evaluation of this national public health policy. We aimed to determine likely effectiveness by examining change in customer energy intake pre vs. post implementation of mandatory calorie labelling in the OHFS sector in England.

Methods We conducted intercept surveys with 6548 participants (pre-assessment, 2021 N=3308, post-assessment, 2022 N=3240) as they left OHFS outlets. Outlets were representatively sampled. The number of calories participants purchased and consumed during OHFS visits were measured through the use of till receipts and self-reports by participants. Demographic information was collected to examine any differential effects by participant age, gender, ethnicity and socioeconomic status. Multiple regression models were conducted to examine pre vs. post policy implementation difference in energy intake, adjusting for local area, outlet and participant characteristics pre vs. policy waves. Effects were also examined according to local area deprivation using the index of multiple deprivation (IMD, 1–5).

Results The mean number of calories purchased (1012 kcals, SD = 632) and consumed (915 kcals, SD = 578) at baseline was high. Multiple-regression models indicated that there was no effect of policy on energy purchased (-7 kcals [95% CIs -49 to 35 kcals], p=0.746), or consumed (- 0.5 kcals [95% CIs -37 to 36 kcals], p=0.977) pre vs post implementation. Across both waves of data collection participants from more deprived areas (IMD = 1) tended to purchase and consume more energy than participants from the least deprived areas (IMD = 5), but there was no evidence across analyses that effects of policy differed by IMD or any participant level characteristics.

Discussion The introduction of mandatory calorie labelling policy in England was not associated with a decrease in energy purchased and consumed in large OHFS outlets. The implementation of mandatory calorie labelling alone may be unlikely to lead to significant impacts on obesity in England, although further evaluation is warranted.

  • policy evaluation
  • obesity
  • natural experiment
  • health inequality
  • food and nutrition

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.