Health officials believe the move is needed as people are consuming 200 to 300 calories too many each day.
It could see the size of products reduced or ingredients changed in food and drinks bought in supermarkets, takeaways and restaurants.
The targets are expected to be set by Public Health England within a year.
They will be voluntary, although officials at the government advisory body said if the industry did not respond they were prepared to legislate.
The calorie-reduction programme comes after the success of the decade-long drive to reduce salt content in food.
It will be modelled on the sugar-reduction programme that was included in last year's child obesity strategy and which committed the industry to reducing the amount of sugar in certain foods by 20% by 2020.
PHE chief nutritionist Dr Alison Tedstone said good progress was being made on the sugar target and it was now time to consider tackling calories .
She pointed out that only a quarter of calories come from sugary foods so if successful it could have a major impact.
"We have a serious problem - one in three leave primary school either obese or overweight," she said.
The story was published by 'BBC'