Plans to introduce mandatory calorie labelling on menus threatens to derail the recovery of the hospitality sector, UKHospitality has warned.

New calorie labelling rules are due to come into force in April 2022 and will apply to business with 250+ employees.

UKHospitality argues the current timeframe will badly damage the sector at a time when the focus must be squarely on recovery.

The association has called on public health minister Jo Churchill MP to delay the policy by six months, giving breathing space following 16 months of closure and severely disrupted trading.

A delay would also allow businesses the time to fully engage on the detail and have systems ready in place.

While supportive of efforts to reduce obesity and increase consumer choice, UKH says additional training could cost some businesses millions of pounds, with the timing “counterproductive and damaging”.

Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: “The vast majority of operators are in survival mode and will be for the foreseeable future. We therefore urge the government to consider delaying the implementation of this legislation rather than layering on new costs for businesses in a sector that has been hardest hit by the pandemic and risks damaging business’ ability to invest and create jobs.”