High street restaurant chains including Pizza Express and McDonald's have been criticised for not properly informing consumers about the nutritional content of their menus.
A report from the National Consumer Council (NCC) accuses chain restaurants of having no nutritional information on their menus or menu boards, despite the fact that Britons eat two billion meals from quick-service restaurants every year.
The seven chains that were examined were Pizza Express, Wimpy, Domino's Pizza, KFC, McDonald's, Pizza Hut and Burger King.
The report highlighted that although Wimpy, Pizza Hut and Domino's offer details of fat, salt, sugar and calorie content on their websites, they do not show the same information within their branches.
Only Burger King offered details available before ordering, in the form of a leaflet at the counter. KFC and McDonald's had information on the back of tray liners.
The report concluded that the available information was often difficult to find, complex and hard to understand, with customers finding it almost impossible to compare relative healthiness of different meal options at a glance.
In an NCC survey of 1,000 consumers, three-quarters said they would find nutritional information useful in takeaway restaurants, while 61% said they would use it to choose healthier meals.
Jeff Allder, a policy expert at the NCC, said it was important that the consumer could choose a "healthy option if they wanted one, especially with the rise of obesity and diet-related illness".
"If people are going to change their eating habits, they need clear, up-front information about what they are eating," he said. "The largest takeaway chains should take a lead from supermarkets, which provide a lot of information at a glance."
By Gemma Sharkey
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