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How to easily add calories on menus with ingredient information

Friday, March 18, 2022


Adding calories to menus is becoming a legal requirement in the UK for many foodbusinesses as the government seeks to tackle obesity. Hoping that increased transparency andvisibility of nutritional content will help guide and inform customers of healthier recipechoices.

Calorie labelling legislation 2022

When will it come into effect?

The new rules will become active on the 6th of April 2022.

Who will be affected?

The new rules will affect any business that serves food directly to the customer with 250 ormore employees. The most affected companies will be restaurants, cafes, and takeaway/fooddelivery services.

How will businesses have to change?

With calorie labelling, best practices will help inform the customer effectively.● Place the calorie information consistently throughout the menu provided at the pointof sale - next to the item price is advised● Display the calories that represent per portion or a complete meal so that the customerknows precisely how many calories will be consumed in kilocalories (kcal)● Provide information regarding the recommended daily calorie allowances, ‘adultsneed around 2,000 kcal a day’ unless stated the food is only for children.

What foods and situations are exempt from calorie labelling?

● Condiments added by the customer● Menu items present for less than 30 days consecutively or throughout the year● Beverages containing over 1.2% by volume of alcohol● Food provided to patients at hospitals, medical establishments and care homes● Food provided at educational facilities to students below the age of 18● Food that is not on the menu but is requested by the customer, such as a specialrequest to be prepared differently from how the business offers it.

What will happen to those that don’t abide by the new legislation?

Food authorities are responsible for enforcing these regulations for their dedicated areas. Thepunishments can range from improvement notices to a monetary penalty of £2,500 instead ofprosecution.

Will calorie labelling work?

In 2018 the US enforced a law that meant any restaurant with over 20 locations had to displaycalories on menus. The results of an examination showed that the average new menu item had113 fewer calories but no change to the combined total calories on a menu.The objective of creating healthier options for the customer to choose from was at least asuccess. Information regarding this analysis can be found in this article.

The cost of change to UK businesses?

Founder of Mowgli Street Food's Nisha Katona, told the BBC that making the changes willrequire a large investment."It's thousands of pounds and weeks of work"... "It's a shame for anyone to have to take on another cost right now."She agrees that displaying calories on menus is a good idea and that it will help driveawareness of calorie consumption. Nisha warns that the new rules should only apply to largerbusinesses that can afford to install systems that will help implement the changes.

Time to calculate calorie content

One obvious cost to businesses is calculating the calorie content for each dish and theirvariations every time the menu changes or a recipe's added. Restaurants that only use fresh orseasonal ingredients requiring weekly or even daily menu changes are exempt from thecalorie legislation, as long as the recipe isn’t included on a menu for more than 30 days of theyear.

Printing new menus

Designing and printing all-new menus can result in high costs, especially with the rising costof materials and at a time when many hospitality businesses are still recovering from thepandemic.

The solution for food businesses of all sizes?

Knowing all the ingredients nutritional breakdowns and adding them up is no easy task. It'stime-consuming and open to human error.

The quick method

Use recipe and menu management software to integrate with your ingredient suppliersdatabase. If you use well-established food suppliers such as Brakes, Bidfood or Turner Price,you can create recipes, and the nutritional data will already be in your system. This methodwill even allow you to track wastage and any associated costs.

The quickest method

Use the ingredient database provided by the software supplier; for example, Kafoodle comeswith a vast library of hundreds of ingredients with nutritional breakdowns ready to use. If itisn't already on the system or requires a change, you can add it once and never have to re-enter. Every recipe using that ingredient will automatically drag through the calorie, nutritionand allergen content.

kafoodle ingredient management software

The digital menu

The best way to save on printing costs is to go paperless, reduce restaurant overheads, and help support go-green initiatives. Digital menus can be opened by the user simply hovering their phone camera over a QR code placed on the table. The user can view the entire menu, filter items according to their dietary, allergy and personal requirements, make alterations to recipes for the chef to see and even order.This way, customers have all the information they need to make an informed decision and allows restaurant staff to answer any questions quickly and correctly. If customers don't have phones available, there's nothing to stop restaurants from having a few paper menus or tablets if the menu updates regularly.Watch this 1-minute demonstration to see how digital recipe management can work for your business.[embed][/embed]


The new calorie labelling legislation will come into effect during April 2022 and will be mandatory for many food businesses. Whilst it won't affect small businesses with under 250 employees, customers may start to like and even expect to see calories on menus. They already do when it comes to dietary content such as free-from nuts and gluten or vegetarian and vegan options.Ingredient, recipe and menu management is now all the same solution. With cost and waste tracking, food businesses can use these solutions to grow, implement processes and organise data no differently from how recruitment businesses use a CRM full of candidate details.Like most software, they have tiered pricing structures and functionality options so food businesses, from start-ups to high-street chains, can afford to benefit from solutions that will help deliver a great product and service now and in the future.

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