Restaurants that share nutritional information on the menu
New research has found that restaurants that display nutritional information on menus provide less fat and salt than foods that do not provide information. It is often recommended to label the restaurant menu to improve people’s eating habits, but previous research has shown that this has little effect on the actual ordering of customers. However, a recent study by the University of Cambridge found that menu labels may make restaurants provide healthier foods that negatively impact people’s diets.
The researchers examined the menus of the 100 most popular hotel chains in the UK, where labels were not mandatory. They found that only 13 chain stores provided nutritional information in their restaurants, but the average fat in those chains was 45% less than the competition and 60% less salt in the meals. They say labeling may encourage restaurants to change the content in food and also those chains that offer “healthy” products are more likely to display it on the menu. Researcher Dolly Theis said: “This shows that restaurants that provide information on calorie content can also provide healthier foods, including fat and salt.”
Ireland has long valued the calories counts on the menu, and the Food Safety Authority began consulting nationwide as early as 2012. Health Minister Simon Harris pledged to enact a calorie intake in 2016 and then re-examined it in February last year when he said he plans to issue legislation before the end of the year. The Irish restaurant association has long opposed this move, saying it was unrealistic and could be unemployed. In addition to the unfair burden on the restaurant, the calories on the menu may not actually reflect the true nutritional value of a dish.