RGDATA, the representative association for the owners of 4,000 shops, supermarkets, convenience stores and forecourt stores made a submission this week to the Department of Health on the proposed mandatory calorie posting on menus.
RGDATA had canvassed members, the majority of whom operate delis, food-to-go services and some offering food to eat on the premises, about the issues arising from this proposal. They range in size from small stores employing less than ten people to larger stores, many are members of symbol groups and others are non-aligned.
Tara Buckley, Director General RGDATA commented: “Shops need financial assistance with the introduction of mandatory calorie posting on menus. It is important to point out that independent convenience/grocery shops have faced extremely challenging times over the past number of years. The most recent CSO retail sales statistics show a welcome growth in some retail sectors but in the convenience/grocery sector sales are still flat”.
Buckley continued: “Over the past six years independent retailers have had to drive efficiencies in their business and cut down on costs wherever possible in order to keep their staff in jobs and their shops open. They have faced extremely challenging competition from the low cost, low employment German discount chains so they have to be extremely efficient in how they run their businesses”.
She continued: “Many have already invested significantly in their fresh food-to-go offers to differentiate themselves and provide local fresh food, convenience, quality, excellent customer service and customer satisfaction”.
Business owners canvassed by RGDATA in recent weeks are absolutely shocked and dismayed about this proposal for mandatory posting of calories by all food business owners.
They are particularly concerned about the implication of the proposals with regard to “loose food” and the impact that this will have on their business model, the serious cost implications, the staff training issues, the implications of the proposed implementation, the timing of the implementation and how they can operate a compliant business.
Having only recently completed the Allergan information, which was an extremely onerous regulatory burden to manage, independent shops should not have a further significant regulatory burden imposed on them without proper consultation and consideration of their concerns.
“The 4,000 Independent shops that RGDATA represents have never received any Government grants or assistance. On this occasion we are asking Government to provide financial assistance to independent shops to cover the onerous costs of delivering mandatory calorie posting on menus and other point of sale materials. The alternative is to make the regulations much simpler and less costly to implement,” said Buckley.
(See attached submission for further details)
Communications Manager, RGDATA
Direct Line: 01-2887584