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What’s on today’s menu? Mandatory calorie labelling

From April 2022, the UK government is serving up a batch of new rules for hospitality venues. Is your data ready?

The UK population loves dining out, with government stats showing that 96% of people eat out and 43% do so at least once or twice a week. With so many meals being consumed a la carte, calorie information has become a priority for diners to look after their health. As a result, hospitality venues are bracing themselves for a crackdown on calories that could have serious data implications for their businesses.

Research suggests that eating out accounts for 20–25% of adult energy intake, and that takeaway meals contain, on average, twice as many calories as equivalent retailer own-brand or manufacturer-branded products.

From April 2022, the UK government is serving up a batch of new rules for hospitality venues. Calories must be labelled on menus and food labels in out-of-home food businesses in any business with more than 250 employees. This runs the gamut of restaurants, cafes, takeaways, bakeries and caterers but also supermarkets, hotels and entertainment venues such as cinemas.

Failure to comply with the new rules could result in enforcement officers imposing a fixed monetary penalty of £2,500 on businesses. However, for many businesses that don’t have data governance in place, the actual process of complying could be time-consuming, expensive and prone to error – in other words, it’s a recipe for disaster.

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Why does calorie labelling present a data issue for restaurants?

Businesses will need to lab test raw ingredients, cooking them and burning them off to determine calorie content. But there’s also the practical aspect of tracking down ingredients, particularly when changes are made to recipes, which will make it difficult to create accurate, reliable calorie for information for labels.

But hospitality venues don’t need to struggle in vain. A better data governance strategy and PIM or MDM system could give them a clearer view of their supply chain and a single source of truth for their data, helping them comply not only with the new labelling regulations but also the incoming UK Food Information Amendment (also known as Natasha’s Law).

If you are hungry to find out how better data management could simplify your calorie labelling, Comma has a full 3-course menu of services to enjoy. Bon appetit!

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Starter: assessing Data Quality and Data Governance to ensure calorie labelling is accurate

For an appetising start, we’ll take your business through a step-by-step process to assess your organisation’s data quality. Your calorie data needs to be clean, consistent, accessible and in the right format, which is why we offer 3-week and 10-week quality assessments to outline the extent of data quality issues.

We also advise you on data governance – the practices you’ll need to make your data management a success, including processes such as master data management. At this stage, we’ll assess the difficulties your business is facing when it comes to managing food information, including not just calorie information but allergen and recipe information too.

Main course: Consulting and delivering MDM and PIM solutions to streamline data management

Let’s get to the meat (or vegan substitute) of the issue: MDM and PIM are all about helping businesses remove data silos. Information about food such as calories can be lost at any stage of the supply chain – but if you have a single, central source of truth your business can easily trace ingredients and have the right information when they need it (i.e., for publishing calorie information on menus).

Because PIM gives you consistent reliable data, you’ll be able to send this calorie information to food delivery companies or online delivery companies such as Uber Eats, Deliveroo and Just Eat.

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Dessert: Giving your businesses long-term data support

For your final morsel – the cherry on top, if you will - we offer ongoing support as your business grows, including health checks, audits, facilitating data governance boards, training or whatever other guidance you need. If your current solution is not sufficiently improving data flow, we’ll help you take a step back to find the right solution to help you deliver accurate reliable information that helps you achieve your business objectives.

Comma can help you manage your data more effectively and advise you on the best possible data technology to make sure you don’t make a meal out of calorie labelling. To find out more about our services, give us a call on +44 1926 911820 or get in touch on the form below.