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Food labeling and menu development

Food labeling and Menu Development

The Food Standard’s Agency (FSA) has recently been making noises about making the food labeling scheme it is running on a voluntary basis compulsory.  This seems to be the back up plan, should the voluntary labeling not be taken up by enough retailers and caterers.

The whole idea of labeling may feel a bit daunting from a retailers or restaurateur’s point of view – your most popular and delicious dish may actually show a bright red light when it comes to saturated fat and salt content.  Through our food consultancy services in London, we have been liaising with restaurants and caterers for a while now, helping them better understand the nutritional value of their dishes.   We can then flag the dishes that may come under scrutiny as far as the FSA standards are concerned, and act as restaurant menu development consultants to help improve the balance of healthy dishes on the menu.

Even without altering your menu, there is value in understanding more about the nutritional facts of your dishes.  We have often worked with clients who want help from someone who can help develop nutrition facts on menus.  In practice, this means analysing the nutritional contents of the dishes, and highlighting any positive nutritional messages.  For example, for one client we helped identify that their cooking processes involved using high quality olive and walnut oils, which contain beneficial fatty acids, instead of using much butter or other saturated fats.  This was a positive health message that we could then help communicate to their client base.

I can’t really think of any restaurant that couldn’t benefit from understanding the nutritional contents of their menus better, particularly if the FSA is thinking of making the labeling compulsory.  Now is the time to look at what your selling points are, where you might want to tweak things a bit – all before it’s right there in front of the consumer.

Our experience through the one-to-one clinical consultations is that consumers are becoming more aware of what they are eating, and prefer to have healthy choices available (even though they don’t always want to go for them!).  We find the combination of running the food consultancy service and the individual clinic consultations gives us a unique ability to advice retailers on what consumers want and how best to communicate this.

Find out more about our food consultancy services and contact us to find out how we can help you.

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