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Customers want nutritional information on menus

23 June 2008 by

Restaurants, pubs and cafés have a responsibility to provide nutritional information to diners, a new survey of customers has found.

The study by the Food Standards Agency (FSA), which questioned more than 2,000 people across the UK, found that 85% of consumers wanted catering outlets to supply details of the nutritional make-up of the food being served to them.

More than 80% said they wanted like to see the information on the menu, while just 2% said they would find it useful if it was available only on the company's website.

FSA chief executive Tim Smith said while retail outlets provided nutritional information on packaging, restaurants, pubs and cafés asked consumers to "suspend any interest in nutritional content of food".

Restaurant chain Yo! Sushi was the first chain to publish nutritional values for its food using the FSA's traffic light system.

Under the system food is labelled green, amber and red according to whether it has low, medium or high levels of fat, salt and sugar.

Business development director Alison Vickers told Caterersearch the group introduced the system in response to customers' demands.

"Our customers have responded very well to the system, especially those with special dietary requirements.

"The traffic light system is transparent and together with fat and calorie content it's a good instant indication of what's in the food being served," she said.

However, the FSA added that while it supported nutritional labelling in restaurants, its recommendations for caterers could take a different form to the traffic-light approach, which had been developed specifically for the retail sector.

Yo! Sushi defends food-safety procedures after Independent attacks hygiene record >>

FSA launches card system to help diners with food allergies >>

Operators in menu talks with the FSA >>

Nutritional values on menus - could it happen here? >>

By Kerstin Kühn

E-mail your comments to Kerstin Kühn here.

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