The proposal to introduce mandatory calorie labelling on menus will hamper the use of seasonal ingredients and place a significant additional burden on business, UKHospitality has claimed.
The move forms part of the government's anti-obesity strategy, which includes restrictions on advertising and banning the same of energy drinks to children. It is also considering preventing retailers from displaying unhealthy food at check-outs.
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said that introducing menu calorie labelling would adversely impact an already under-pressure sector.
"The out-of-home sector supports workable efforts to promote healthier eating habits, as demonstrated by the proactive actions already in reformulating menus to reduce calories and increase transparency and choice for customers. However, the introduction of mandatory menu calorie labelling would represent a significant burden for businesses, particularly smaller operators," she said.
Nicholls added that while many high-street chains already choose to show calorie content on their menus, smaller businesses were likely to struggle.
She said: "It would impose a serious additional cost for many businesses facing tightening margins, increased operating costs and wider economic instability.
"Furthermore, it would hamper venues endeavours to incorporate seasonal ingredients and ‘specials' to attract custom, as well as restricting smaller restaurants' ability to innovate, particularly when tackling food waste.
"Calorie labelling would largely fall outside of the government's targeting of obesity among lower income children, as obesity in that demographic is less likely to be caused by dining in restaurants."