Calorie Wise

Northern Ireland specific
Calorie Wise encourages food businesses to display calories on menus and to provide healthier options to help consumers make healthier choices when eating out.
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Calorie Wise is a free and voluntary scheme delivered by the Food Standards Agency and district councils in Northern Ireland. 

With six in 10 adults in Northern Ireland either overweight or obese, Calorie Wise can make a big difference to the choices consumers make when eating out. The key to maintaining a healthy weight is balancing the energy we take in with the energy we use.

  • men need around 2,500 calories a day
  • women need around 2,000 calories a day

There are three main benefits to joining the Calorie Wise scheme:

  • it can increase profit due to standardisation of recipes and reduction of food waste
  • current food trends all point towards a rise in demand by consumers for healthier foods and products
  • research shows 96% of people want calorie labelling in all or some food outlets (Food Safety Authority of Ireland 2012)

Any catering business can join the scheme, whether it's a restaurant, takeaway, cafe, coffee shop, pub, sandwich shop or staff canteen. Businesses can obtain the award by displaying calorie information clearly and prominently at the point of choice i.e. on menus and/or menu boards, for all standard food and non-alcoholic drinks.

If you join the scheme you will receive:

  • help and advice on how to calculate and display calories
  • guidance on how to offer healthier options for your customers by making small and simple changes to your menus
  • window stickers displaying the Calorie Wise logo so that people can look out for the scheme when eating out across Northern Ireland

See the Calorie Wise business flyer below for a downloadable copy of this information.

Get involved with Calorie Wise

To take part in the scheme you will need to display energy information according to the four principles described in the technical guidance ie.

  • energy information is provided for ALL standard food and drink items sold
  • energy information is displayed clearly and prominently at the ‘point of choice’ for the consumers
  • energy information is provided per portion or per meal
  • information on how many kJ and calories an average person needs in a day is given to help consumers 'make sense' of calories on menus

Business will need to complete an accurate nutritional analysis of menu items to identify kilojoule (kJ) and calorie (kCal) content. This can be carried out for free using the online tool MenuCal.

Step by step guide

  • download the full technical guidance which includes suggestions on how to comply with the above principles (below)
  • contact your local Environmental Health Department (EHO) and ask to speak to the Calorie Wise Champion
  • submit application to your local EHO for an assessment. An audit will then be carried out using the Calorie Wise audit tool (below)
  • if you pass the audit, you can then display the window sticker to show your membership of the scheme. This will be awarded by the EHO
  • commit to reviewing the accuracy of your energy information at least every 6 months.