It is becoming more common to see calories on menus in coffee houses and in some cafés and restaurants. At present (October 2012) displaying calories is voluntary but there is concern among some food businesses and trade organisations that legislation will make this a mandatory requirement.
In deciding whether to introduce legislation, the Oireachtas will need to strike a careful balance between informing consumers about the foods they purchase and imposing potentially harmful demands on already struggling food businesses. On the one hand, providing calorie information can empower consumers in their choice of foods but how, and when, this is done must take account of the cost to, and impact on, food businesses operators.
Monitoring of compulsory rules will be undertaken by authorities that are facing their own financial challenges and enforcement of regulations must be done in a way that is transparent, proportionate and consistent.