Would you be deterred from ordering something because of the number of calories or amount of fat, sodium or sugar? I really wonder if that will fight obesity as much as consumers choosing to fight it without prodding because of all the messages everywhere these days about eating healthier. I'm sure I would not refrain from ordering a dessert because of the calorie count, but then again, I did recently choose one bottled peanut sauce over another because of the sodium content!
I have during certain periods in my life, now being one of them, made my food choices on calories, fat content salt and sugar content. As you get older you tend to make decisions that way. With the Baby Boomers reaching that age it seems there will be more choices or at least more information available on menus.
I agree, but the boomers are all across the country and will be making a major mark on this industry, I think. Many will want to continue working past retirement age. Many will be health-conscious and want that concern reflected in menus.
Generation Y is also very aware of the health risks associated with certain types of food. I am 21 years old, and very aware of what goes into my body, among my oeers I am not alone. This could become a nationwide trend among a vast demographic plane.
I don't think it will help fight Obesity . The Surgeon Generals warning is on Cigarette Packs but lot of people still smoke . People will eventually get used to seeing the Nutrition Info and they will just ignore it .
As a former high school nutrition teacher, I found that students and parents alike didn't know a carbohydrate from a fat. Calorie count was a 4-letter word. What would help the entire restaurant industry the very most is to cut portion sizes to a realistic amount. In our ProStart national food contests, we restrict protein to 4-6 ounces, starch to 2 - 3 ounces and vegetables to 2 - 3 ounces. Even the dinner plate sizes are larger these days. We are simply eating too much food; even a fast food burger eaten occasionally can be "allowed" in a nutrient conscious diet. A picture is worth a thousand words: how about pictures of dinner plates with great presentations of a balanced meal instead of a "skillet" full of food. And, why isn't the industry using more herbs and spices to enhance flavor instead of depending on fat? How about fat free or lower fat sauce ingriedients? There are so many ways to enhance the nutritional content of good food but it does take time, effort, skill and desire.
As a journalist, I am, seeing a lot of what you're suggesting being done by contract foodservice management companies such as Unidine Corp. or Parkhurst Dining Services. Interesting that the non-commercial side of the industry seems to be ahead of the curve on this -
This idea that we need to post nutritional information is already getting annoying. I live in Tampa, FL and we also had a news story that raised the issue that there sould be an ingredients list on all menu items. I think that if a restaurant wants to post nutritional information because they are healtier, more power to them. I think though, that we can give the public enough credit that they will realize that the buttermilk fried chicken with southern gravy is going to be full of fat. As far as an ingredients list, or even a basic nutritional understanding, restaurants have a great way to let people who want to know these things stay informed. The waitstaff. Unlike prepackaged foods, restaurants have the advantage of sending representatives of their food to each and every customer. Adding the option of a server providing some nutritional information to a guest who asks seems like it might be the next step in outstanding customer service.
Part of the problem is the consumers themselves.
Numerous market research companies have done countless consumer surveys about healthier offerings in restaurants.
Just about everyone asked said they wanted to see more offerings of healthy foods.
But somehow, they seem to be speaking for others and not themselves. Just because they want to see healthier items on the menu doesn't mean that they are going to purchase them.
When people go out to eat, even if it's not a special occasion, they are going to indulge.
Nutritional information will be ignored.
Another problem is made from scratch to order type restaurants. After spending all that money on nutritional analysis, if a chef puts a little more seasoning on a dish...or a little less, the info becomes useless. If a little too much mayo gets spread on a sandwich, a little extra cheese on a burger etc.
So some activist with a team of lawyers will run around and buy a bunch of food from restaurants they don't like (or have deep pockets) and will have them analyzed for accuracy......and it won't be....and they will sue....and they will probably win.
I absolutely agree with you that demand may not be as great as indicated by the public, that is why I am also seeking to discover how industry professionals feel about the issue as it pertains to the clientel in their own establishments. If you wouldn't mind I would love to get your feedback on my brief survey ( no more than 5 minutes I promise!) Thanks a lot. http://libtools.paulsmiths.edu/phpesp/public/survey.php?name=Restua...
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