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Food Trends: National Calorie Labeling Law

I started hearing grumbles about this back in 2009 as part of the health reform bill and was elated to see this bill was passed into law March 23, 2010.  We are now seeing more information published on this law and it looks like the National Calorie Labeling Law will affect restaurants that have twenty or more locations nationwide.  The restaurants will require calories to be listed on menus and menu boards as well as a statement including recommended daily intake.  This law takes into effect the second half of 2012; however some states such as New York City, California, and Philadelphia are already abiding to the national law second to state laws previously passed.  

Research estimates one third of American’s eat away from home, and that children specifically eat twice the amount of calories in a restaurant verse their home.  Will calories on menus influence your decision on what you order for yourself or your children?

The NPD marketing group conducted a survey on people eighteen years are older.  There were two menus to choose from, the first without calories and the second with calories listed.  Guess what?  After seeing the second menu, most ordered items with fewer calories.  In 2009 the New York City health department conducted a survey that proved that on average people ordered 106 calories less when ordering from a menu with calories listed and that overall calorie consumption dropped in nine out of thirteen restaurants.

It will be interesting to see how this law affects restaurants.  Will we see recipe modification?  Will restaurants need to change their forecasts secondary to a change in product purchases?  Either way I think it is a very good thing to provide calories on menus.  This is the information American’s need to make appropriate decisions.

In the meantime, if you live in a city that does not have a state law download the Restaurant Nutrition application on your blackberry, droid, or apple.  It is wonderful as it provides nutrition information on hundreds of restaurants.  Don’t have a smart phone?  Join Myfitnesspal.com or Sparks People and take a look at nutrition content before you dine out.  Knowledge is power.  How do you feel about this law?  I want to hear your thoughts. Be well!

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