The Ultimate Guide to Menu Health Labeling

  • Aug 08, 2019
  • Brandon

Counting calories and watching your nutritional intake isn’t a trend anymore. It is become a norm and is being reinforced by new laws.

As a result, companies from quick-service restaurants to CPGs across the world are now expected to include the nutritional information of their foods.

When it comes to your digital menu boards, you need to ensure that you display the nutritional information of your products, lest you find yourself in violation of any food and health regulations. Besides, your customers will love the fact that you have kept pace with societal norms.

What Info Do You Need to Include?

As scientists and nutritionists make new connections between nutrition and health, the level of information also increases, but you can’t include everything on your boards. They will end up looking like a scientific journal instead of a menu board. So, what should you include? What information are your clients looking for?

In general, most people worry about macronutrient information. These include proteins, fat, carbs, and calories. There are so many vitamins out there that it would make your menu seem cluttered when you try and add them all. 

What the Law Requires

Regardless of what type of restaurant you operate, you have to be compliant with local regulations. The most common requirement in every jurisdiction is a calorie count.

A calorie is simply a unit of measurement for the amount of energy any food has in it. Your body burns calories by regulating temperature, moving, and any processes like breathing or digestion.

The effect of calories is somewhat like pouring water into a sink with an open drain. If it is draining faster than water is poured in, the water level will lower (the body loses weight). If water is poured in faster than it can drain, the water-level increases (body loses weight).

To reference how caloric your foods are, most health agencies recommend the average adult man eat about 2,500 calories and the average woman 2,000.

Vitamin Menus

If health is a value your restaurant focuses on it could be worth adding extra information. Changing the grouping of your menus could provide them with something fresh and draw them to your establishment. It is going to take some research on your side, but it could pay off in the long run.

Research vitamins and what each of their benefits are good for and group your menus according to their benefits.

For example, you could create an immune booster category and place all your items that are high in Vitamin C, zinc and Echinacea. There are countless options for you to consider, so planning your sections will take careful planning and design.

The Physical Display

This is one of the more complex areas of the displaying calories, seeing that you need to establish what your jurisdiction requires. Not all states and areas have the same regulations and you could end up in hot water if you get this wrong. Be on the safe side and check with the organization whose jurisdiction you are in to get the correct format.

Most areas only require you to display the caloric information, but they don’t give you guidelines or restrictions on how big or small the display should be. This is where your sales strategy will come into play.

Display for Purpose

If you have a genuine fast food restaurant, then there is no getting away from unhealthy food. In general, there are many products that you will have on your menu that will be high in calories, fat, and sugar. In this case, you might want to consider not drawing too much attention to the calorie count.

If you want to go that far, you could always display the count in a color that is more obscure. But it could backfire if the customers get frustrated by not being able to read your menus and realizing you’re intentionally trying to hide information.

If you have a health-conscious establishment, you want to flaunt how healthy your meals are and draw attention to the nutritional info. You don’t have to place too much emphasis on it. All the info could be clearly displayed in a font and color that is easy to read.

Using a different font than the rest of your menu is generally acceptable in either case and it indicates that the info is only supplementary to the food itself. Serif is a better choice than sans serif as it is less impactful on a digital display and almost blends with the rest of the menu. Again, your sales strategy will determine what font you use.

To Conclude

We cannot escape the health-conscious society and time that we live in, so we need to make the most of the restrictions and regulations. There are ways that you can make these regulations work in your favor.

Then again, these regulations could draw your attention to the quality of your products and help you to improve on your products. Whichever way you see it, you only benefit if you approach these regulations with the right mindset.

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