The introduction of anti-obesity government measures could stifle trade and increase burdens for employers, according the ALMR.
A report into childhood obesity, published by the House of Commons Select Committee, has come under scrutiny by the ALMR after making a number of recommendations including changes to legislation to include health as a planning consideration.
The report also makes a number of other recommendations on portion sizes, promotions and the Soft Drinks Levy.
'The Government’s strategy is concerned with tackling childhood obesity and promoting healthier habits in younger people, but the worry is that new measures may miss that point while having negative consequences for restaurants', ALMR chief executive Kate Nicholls, told Imbibe.
At present there are vague and potentially unworkable ideas regarding the limiting of portion sizes, Kate Nicholls
'In our dialogue with Public Heath England, the ALMR has stressed that, for most customers, eating out remains an occasional luxury and that blanket measures designed to help children will actually harm restaurants chiefly catering for adults.'
Nicholls said if local authorities are empowered to make planning decisions on health matters, restaurants and cafes could find themselves facing barriers to growth. 'The Select Committee’s recommendations make it clear that out-of-home eating and drinking is a target for new measures under consideration,’ she said. ‘At present there are vague and potentially unworkable ideas regarding the limiting of portion sizes and we have seen today that a major soft drinks manufacturer will be passing on costs incurred by the Soft Drinks Levy.
'These measures, intended to promote healthy habits among children, will certainly be felt by restaurants even if those children account for a tiny fraction of their customer-base. There is the real danger that Government proposals will significantly increase costs and burdens for businesses that have already worked hard over recent years to provide their customers with healthier options, reformulated menus, and more information to make informed, adult decisions.'