Restaurants can use nutritional labeling software to declare the nutritional value of menu items

Restaurants can use nutritional labeling software to declare the nutritional value of menu items

Nutritional labeling software used by Restaurants which declare value of the menu items

Helping consumers make more informed choices is the primary purpose of Nutrition Facts label on food products, which is a statutory requirement laid down by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The labels tell you about the nutrition available in a product. The information includes the number of servings in the package, serving size, calories per serving, and the amounts of various nutrients present in the product.  On understanding the information of the labels, consumers will be in a better position to judge whether it is a healthy diet and choose the most nutritious product or food.  

The nutrition facts labels are mandatory for most of the packaged foods and beverages so that consumers are aware of what they are consuming. The onus of consuming healthy foods rests on consumers who have the option of abstaining from unhealthy foods and drinks by judging the label information. 

What the contents of Nutrition Facts labels mean

Serving size – A single serving of the product constitutes the serving size, and it forms the reference amount for stating other nutritional values on the labels. 

Servings per container – It is the number of servings available in one package.

Total calories – Calories derived from proteins, carbohydrates, and fats are a source of energy that keeps us active.

Calories from fat – It denotes the number of calories derived from fat.

The daily value (%) – The number is a percentage of the recommended nutrient value obtained from a single serving. The most nutritious food contains 20% daily value. But the lower percentage is better for some nutrients like fat, cholesterol, and sodium. 

Total Fat – Fat is essential for our bodies as it helps in absorbing specific vitamins and keeps us full after meals. 

Trans Fat – It is the unhealthy fat that is bad for the heart. 

Cholesterol – The substance found in animal products is useful for the body to help in vitamin D absorption and make some hormones. Besides being available from foods, our body also produces cholesterol, and the amount depends on genetic factors. Eat moderate quantities of food that contain high cholesterol because it can be bad for heart health by obstructing blood flow through the arteries.

Sodium – It is the chemical name of salt, which is an essential nutrient, but those with high blood pressure must minimize salt intake. 

Total Carbohydrate – Carbohydrates provide energy for the muscles and brain.

Dietary fiber – Facilitates digestion and keeps the stomach full between meals.

Sugars – Sugars produce instant energy, but too much sugar can be harmful and make you feel tired. The sugars mentioned on the label are added sugars like honey and syrups and not the sugar occurring in the food naturally. 

Protein-It helps to build muscles and keep the body healthy by fighting infections.

Vitamins and Minerals – The body needs Calcium found in dairy products and Vitamin D for healthy bones. Protein food contains iron that sustains our energy, and there are other nutrients like monounsaturated and poly-unsaturated fat and other minerals and vitamins. 

Restaurants must also display nutritional facts

The government wants that restaurants must follow the same guidelines of declaring the Nutritional Facts on the menu, which is binding on them. Simply said, it is compliance stipulated by FDA that restaurant chains in the US must adhere to. The new law enacted by the FDA on May 7, 2018, specifies that any restaurant and retail food establishment with 20 or more locations must provide consumers information about the calorie-count on the items listed on the menu. It includes businesses like a stand at the airport that offers food for self-service or a bakery located inside a grocery store. Besides the calorie-count, the item name and the offering must be the same across every store that belongs to the business. 

It is different for restaurants

A marked difference in the information provided by restaurants in the menu and the Nutrition Facts labels is that mentioning the calorie-count is mandatory for restaurants but not other nutritional information.  However, on receiving a written request, businesses are liable to provide additional details like total calories, trans fat, saturated fat, total fat, sodium, cholesterol, total carbohydrates, fiber, sugar, and protein. The store must display statements that they would provide other nutritional information on request.

A new challenge

The new law has thrown up new challenges for the restaurant industry that must now be on its toes to provide the nutritional information of food items on their menu.  The problem faced by restaurants is that there is no formal quality control department to monitor the nutritional values of recipes, and it is not always feasible to monitor quality like in batch produced items. Moreover, there are also changes happening to the menu quite often that complicates things. Sending the recipes to a nutritionist of the lab takes time for the results to be available, which can slow down the process of adding new items to the menu. It can have detrimental effects on the business.

The solution

To overcome the problem, restaurant owners are now using a nutritional calculator and analysis software for restaurants that allow them to generate nutritional labels by calculating and analyzing nutritional values for their food. The restaurant owners can now perform recipe analysis and virtual experimentation to change quantities or substitute ingredients to make healthier dishes. The software helps in better compliance with the government compliant labeling by feeding the software with data related to the nutritional composition of the select menu.

The food labeling software is also useful for food services businesses as they can input ingredients into the system that constitute a meal and produce a menu. It is possible to print nutrition labels and insert it into an existing menu or affixed on the packaging of a food item.

With the nutritional information readily available, customers can make a well-informed decision about what they want to eat by keeping in mind its health effects based on the declared value of the nutrients.

Showcasing the nutritional profile of selected menu items attract health-conscious customers who can gauge the product or food quality by looking at the nutrition label.

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