FDA Releases Final Menu Labeling Rules
Compliance and enforcement of the regulation, which will apply to supermarkets, chain restaurants and other foodservice operators, will begin in May 2017. After the National Restaurant Association stopped opposing menu labeling in 2009, McDonald’s followed with a “high-profile precedent” in 2012 by posting calorie counts on U.S. menu boards, with chains such as Panera Bread and Subway following. However, some other restaurant chains, as well as grocery and convenience stores, have maintained that application of FDA’s guidelines would be “burdensome, expensive and confusing” for retailers and consumers.
RL’s take: It seems that retailers and consumers are at odds here. While many retailers see this as a difficult process to put in place, the myriad calorie-counting consumers who look to everything from smartphone apps to in-store dietitians for help living a healthier lifestyle likely will see retailers adhering to these labeling requirements as transparent, thus growing trust and loyalty. And in the end, isn’t the retailer’s best interest to be a resource to the consumer? These rules are not about telling consumers how to eat and regulating their food intake. It’s about empowering them to make more informed decisions, something they want.