Calorie labelling in some UCL food and drink outlets

6 April 2022

New Government legislation around food and drink calorie labelling will come into force on 6 April, affecting many on-campus food and drink outlets. Read on to find out what you can expect and how to get support if you are concerned about this.

Two people sitting opposite each other holding cups of coffee

On 6 April 2022, new regulations around food and drink calorie labelling will be introduced in England. This will mean restaurants, cafes and takeaways in England with over 250 employees will have to add calorie labels to their menus. As providers of UCL’s catering, CH&Co are legally bound to provide this information, this is not a decision that has been made by UCL nor CH&Co. Read more about the Government’s decision to do this. 

At UCL, this will impact all outlets run by CH&Co, including but not limited to: the Wilkins Refectory, the Student Centre Café, Fold Pizza, the Engineering Café and coffee outlets. This will also impact food and drink outlets run by Students’ Union UCL. This includes outlets such as the Print Room Café, George Farha Café, Gordon’s Café and Bloomsbury Café.  

For those with eating disorders or disordered eating, this may impact you and it is valid if you find this confronting, overwhelming and/or concerning. Read on to find out what to expect and how you can access support.  

Calorie labelling in affected outlets at UCL

This new legislation means that many food businesses are going to be legally required to display calorie information. This means calorie information will be prominently displayed in many places on campus, both on menus and next to food displayed on sale. The law states that calorific content must be provided for each food item in kcal, accompanied by the line ‘an adult needs around 2000 calories a day’. For many people, calorie labelling can be unwanted for a variety of reasons, but unfortunately the law is strict.  

When in one of the cafes on campus, you can expect to see calorie information displayed next to each individual item on sale, for example, a croissant, as well as against the coffee price board. The calories on the coffee price board will be calculated based on CH&Co’s most sold milk; semi-skimmed. Fruit is exempt from the requirement.  

When in a refectory, calorie information will be displayed on grab & go food like sandwiches, yogurt pots and snack pots. It will also be displayed against all individual dishes on the digital and printed menus, for example a menu would say “Fish & Chips, x kcal, £5.60”. 

Read Beat’s advice for eating out with calorie labelling.  

Resources and support available 

Beat – the UK’s eating disorder charity 

Beat runs a Helpline to provide you with support and information about eating disorders, no matter where you are in your journey. Their free Helpline is open 365 days a year, from 9am to midnight during the week, and 4pm to midnight on weekends and bank holidays. You can call the England helpline on 0808 801 0677. View the Helpline numbers for support in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.  

You can also access support through one-to-one web chat, open 365 days a year, from 09:00 to 23:45 and 00:00 to 01:00, Monday to Friday, and 16:00 to 23:45 on Saturday and Sunday. If you would like to speak with someone for a non-urgent matter outside the webchat or Helpline opening times, you can email help@beateatingdisorders.org.uk for support in England or get support via email in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. 

If you or someone else are in danger and need urgent support when the Helpline is closed, contact emergency services on 999 or the Samaritans on 116 123 (both open 24 hours a day).  

Other support  

If you think you may have an eating disorder, it’s important to see your General Practitioner (GP). They will ask you about your eating habits and how you are feeling, and they may refer you to an eating disorder specialist.  

Read the NHS information and support page for more information about eating disorders, symptoms and getting support.  

Please note that Disability, Mental Health and Wellbeing and Student Psychological and Counselling Services are unable to provide tailored support to students with eating disorders, so if you are looking for support please contact the organisations above.