The Food Standard Agency (FSA) scheme encouraging restaurants and caterers to put calorie information on menus has split opinion.
On Monday, the FSA announced the first 18 companies taking part in a trial of the scheme, from next month, with participants including Burger King, KFC, Compass Group, Sodexo, Subway and Pret a Manger.
Sue Davies, chief policy adviser of consumer rights group Which?, said the scheme was "great news for consumers who are eating on-the-go".
"People spend almost a third of their food budget on food eaten outside the home so we need more companies to sign up to this scheme," she said. "Four out of five people want to follow a healthier diet. Their intentions shouldn't have to be compromised just because they want a speedy snack."
But William Sitwell, editor of Waitrose Food Illustrated, said the move was "depressing".
"Food is one of the last refuges from the chaos of the planet. And, during a seemingly endless recession, we need its pleasure more than ever," he wrote in the Daily Telegraph.
"What else is there in the world that you like the look of so much that you can actually put it in your mouth and eat it? But no. We are so foolish that we must at all times be protected from ourselves with big labels."
The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has also opposed menu labelling, particularly if, as it fears, it becomes statutory. The BHA claims that public health minister Dawn Primarolo is in favour of compulsion, although the FSA has denied this.
By Daniel Thomas
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