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For the last few months I have read over and over that menu labeling does not have an effect on ordering or calorie reduction. These articles have all been based on one single study across 10 locations of a single restaurant concept in King County, Wash. It has been tweeted, blogged, shouted and toted as the negative outcome for anyone who wants to communicate it. All this to prove the required nutritional information disclosure is for naught.

Personally, I have strongly disagreed with this study since the very first time I read about it. Not that the study on the pacific northwest was false, but that it was only a very small piece of the entire menu labeling effort and that it is early. In my humble opinion, it is impossible to tell a trend from one type of restaurant in one area of the country without further investigation.

Today, I am seeing a complete 180 from the other side of the country. According to a NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene study on menu labeling and calorie counts: “15% of fast-food patrons in the city who use the information eat an average of 106 fewer calories than those who don’t see or ignore the calorie content.” That is huge!

This study appears to have been much more general as far as the types and amounts of restaurants. Additionally, the outcome could be the first of its type to actually see the potential for weight loss in this country based on providing this information.

Each work day 100 fewer calories at lunch = (approx 26,000 fewer calories/year) 7 lbs lost/year for the individual. That is headed in the right direction considering more than half of the country’s population is either overweight or obese.

What do you think? Is it worth providing the information to your customers as you see it?   Are you receiving feedback to your nutritional information yet? More to come……

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User Comments – Give us your opinion!
  • Anna Udelhofen
    Providing nutritional information is important, yes. However, we must remember the consumer has the ability to make healthy choices. Many restaurants make Nutritional and Allergen brochures available to their guests. Sure they may not advertise it, but they're there and it is up to the customer to do the right thing for themselves and research what they are eating. A double bacon deluxe cheeseburger with fries is an obvious less healthy choice than a grilled chicken sandwich with a side salad- I don't think people need a layout of the calorie and fat content for that. If you want to eat healthy, either choose not to eat fast food or go to a fast food restaurant where you know their are also healthy options and make the choice to eat those options.
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Betsy Craig
Betsy Craig brings 20 years of food service industry experience to MenuTrinfo, LLC a menu nutritional labeling Company. Her commitment to the betterment of the food industry and her desire to affect the dining public are the driving forces behind her new company Kitchens with Confidence, LLC.
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