In one of our previous blog post on QuoteSearcher we blogged about calorie counting and how a few chains have signed up to displaying nutritional information in outlets.
This week, fast food chains such as McDonalds have started to show calorie content on their meals.
Displaying calories is encouraged by the Government as part of the Public Health Responsibility Deal, to make people more informed about the food they eat, which is also approved by many obesity experts.
The Department of Health says that showing how many calories are in the food that people eat “makes people more aware of the energy content of their foods and does influence people’s choices”.
The scheme has been running in New York and studies have shown how consumers regularly underestimate the number of calories they eat. McDonalds have also done their own research regarding fast food and calorie intake and found that 8 out of 10 customers believe all companies should display calorie information, less than 1 in 5 said it would influence what they in.
This is a good start if around 15% of consumers change their eating habits and a good result achieved compared to other healthy eating promotions.
It could be a concern about how food manufacturers will react to calorie displays. Because only the calorie count needs to be displayed, not the actual content, some people believe that food outlets will cut their costs and restaurant insurance UK by adding poor quality filler ingredients to bulk out the food which reduces the calorie content, e.g. using starch.
It’s also a worry that more salt will be added to make up for the taste, which will lead to a meal of poor nutritional value.
It would be more useful for consumers if restaurants and fast food outlets would display the full nutritional breakdown of their meals including their fibre, sugar, fat, protein, salt and sugar levels.
Healthier food choices could be made if the full nutritional value was shown and poor quality establishments would have to improve their food and ingredients. It’s not just fast food restaurants that would suffer, posh, high quality restaurants would also struggle as their indulgent high fat, calorie and salt content foods would make a Big Mac look healthy.