Menu Labeling Bills…What’s Going on?

For the past two years my head has been spinning trying to keep up to date on the latest menu labeling news. First it was New York, then almost every big city proposed their own version. Some passed, some didn’t, then the states started jumping on board and preempting some of the local laws…it’s all very confusing.The national laws that were proposed to help unify a standard and clarify the situation didn’t help much because none passed.So what’s the situation now? Here’s my attempt at clarification for the time being:There have been a handful of proposed national bills that were favored by restaurant associations to help unify a national standard and make confusing tables like the above unnecessary. You may have heard of the LEAN and MEAL acts, and the proposal from Yum Brands that would require independent restaurants to disclose calorie information, still no national standard.The latest national effort in menu labeling is featured in the Health Care Reform Bill. This section of the bill pretty much mimics the proposed regulations of the LEAN act (requires any restaurant chain with 20 or more locations to participate), but goes on to include vending machines and self service items.I know that a lot of you are not menu labeling fans, but I think that having a national standard will be a good thing (at least better than all of these pocket laws).Just some calorically labeled food for thought.
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  • Some and some. We are finding that most operators who provide nutrition information to their diners are doing it because people are asking for it. And the "dieting diner" will pay up to $2 more per menu item if it denotes a better choice for them...!
  • Great post, thank you for keeping us updated. With so much activity at the state level, are operators rushing to meet the deadlines? Or, are they passively waiting?
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