Nutrition info on menus

As a registered dietitian, I don't worry much about knowing the exact nutrient profile of what I eat when I go to restaurants, simply because of my years of education and training in this area, makes it easy for me to identify what's healthy and what's not on any menu.

but what about all those who don't have any previous nutrition education? how do they feel when they are faced with a menu with only a line or two description of a dish, which quiet frankly is rarely a true representation of what's actually on the plate. Frankly, I would be furious. When I go to the supermarket, and pick up a package of frozen lasagna, I have all the detailed information about the ingredients and nutrient profile of that item, if I choose to use that information or not in my food selection, it's my choice, but to have that information available, and provided to me by the manufacturer is "my right". The package food industry has to follow strict regulations and laws before putting a food item on the shelves, why is the restaurant food an exception?

Considering the increasing proportion of food that's consumed away from home and the growing segment of the population that consider themselves "health conscious", why aren't restaurants and food service operators not seeing this huge business potential that's waiting to be exploited? Luckily some businesses are taking advantage of this growing consumer demand and provide that information voluntarily, (or as requested by law, in some countries). There needs to be more restaurants like the Grand Hotel du Lac in Vevey where they provide personalized nutrition information on menus using mobile tablets. That's an innovative and smart application developed as the result of years of research by Myravan Solutions, which showed that not only customers today like to have nutrition information on menus, but they would go to restaurants more often, if this information was available to them.

so what do you think? Do consumers have the right to nutrition information on menus, just like on packaged products?

Maryam Yepes est une diététicienne diplômée avec un doctorat en santé publique et une passionée pour la science et l'art de la gastronomie