Wednesday, March 18, 2009

But I already Have Nutrition Information……

Ok so you have it done.  A few questions for you:

1.)    How?

2.)    By whom?

3.)    When?

4.)    and what’s changed? 

Why do I ask?  Because the answer to these questions may have some impact on the accuracy of you data and nutrition labels. 

We recently added this information to the MenuCalc website and thought it might make for a good blog spot as well:

If you already have nutrition information for your menu you may still consider having your recipes re-analyzed if you:

  1. Have nutrition values generated from a database done in 2006 or prior – In 2006 there was a major revision in the USDA database.
  2. Used any of the following companies:
    • EZProclaimer© Software
    • FIAS (Food Intake Analysis System) Millennium 1.0
    • Intertek

* From research, we believe these companies have gone out of business, therefore there will be no nutrition analysis support if errors are found

  1. Have reformulated your recipes.
  2. Have changed your ingredient supplier.
  3. Your consultant used out-of-date or defective software. It’s a good idea to check with them to see what software they used.

In a time when TV stations are taking food samples from restaurants to have them lab analyzed, to then blab their erroneous results to the public, accuracy is a priority, and we need to follow best practices (such as: using an approved nutrition analysis company or asking consultants if they’re using the latest CD), to eliminate as much room for error as possible.   

Thought for food.  

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

THE THREE AMIGOS

With AIG reporting the largest loss in corporate history, a record $61.7 billion for Q4 2008 alone, it’s hard to stay positive during these challenging times.

But with challenging times comes opportunity. A recent report from Mintel Menu Insights† said:

Consumers crave three things when looking at menus these days:
1. Mini foods
2. Value
3. Lighter (as in better-for-you) meals

I love it when a restaurant calls our company and says, “I think I want to do nutrition information, but I’m not under any menu labeling laws, I just think it’s a competitive advantage.” You’re absolutely right! A recent report from Technomic Inc. found: 82 percent of New York City residents surveyed say the posted calorie information is affecting what they order, and 60 percent say it is affecting what restaurants they visit.

During these hard times, companies (not just restaurants) have to adapt. People want to eat healthy and/or have the option to eat healthy. If our industry is facing its toughest time in 40 years, operators must achieve new and creative ways to bring people back into restaurants.

I can’t guarantee that providing nutrition information will fill up your tables (though I wish I could – because that’s good news for both of us!), but I can tell you that three in four adults say they are trying to eat healthier now at restaurants than they did two years ago‡.

People are saving their pennies, and when they do eat out they want value for their money. Consumers are looking for restaurants that offer Eco Friendly take out carriers, they are looking for restaurants that offer dining discounts, and yes they are even looking for those two words: “Nutrition Information.”

This isn’t a trend. It’s a lifestyle.

I’ll sign off with one of my favorite thought provoking quotes:

"If I'd asked my customers what they wanted, they'd have said a faster horse." – Henry Ford

Keep innovating,
Lucy


†Mintel, a leading market research company www.mintel.com
‡National Restaurant Association’s Industry Forecast for 2009