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How to Make Menu Labeling Work to Your Advantage

How to Make Menu Labeling Work to Your Advantage

Although independent operations are not required to post nutritionals (yet), it might make good business sense to rise to the challenge with menu labeling.

Calorie counts on menus will soon be commonplace. The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, signed into law March 23, 2010, includes a provision requiring restaurant chains with 20 units or more to print calories on menus, menu boards and merchandising materials. Also subject to the menu-labeling legislation are foodservice operations in schools and hospitals, convenience stores, mobile carts and vending machines. Additional information must be available upon request—calories from fat, total fat, saturated fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, sugars, dietary fiber and protein. Although a date for compliance has not yet been set, some chains are already responding—and all will eventually need to comply.

Why should independent operators care? This legislation represents a tectonic shift in the industry, ushering in an era of enlightened diners who will expect nutritional information when dining out. If they know how many calories are in a burger at their favorite local chain, chances are they'll expect that information at their favorite mom and pop.

Four Steps to Help Implement Menu Labeling

  1. Standardize your recipes with precise measurements, ingredient listing and plate specifications.

  2. Hire a registered dietitian or other qualified nutrition professional to analyze nutritional information in your standardized recipes.

  3. Train staff to follow recipe specifications accurately.

  4. Put in place a system for maintaining and updating recipe data. Even small modifications to a recipe can significantly impact nutritionals. Appoint a staff member to be responsible for keeping track of changes and revamping data when needed.

How Kraft Mayo with Olive Oil Can Help

Kraft Mayo with Olive Oil

Diners won't compromise on flavor. In its Healthy Dining Trends Report (May 2010), Mintel contextualizes the data it compiled with this statement, "But, getting people to eat healthier requires more than adding healthy options to the menu or posting calories. Restaurants must go the distance to prove health can taste good, too." Newly launched Kraft Mayo with Olive Oil offers full, rich flavor with half the fat and half the calories of regular mayonnaise. Indeed, a whopping 91 percent of consumers who tasted the reduced-fat mayonnaise say it has the great taste of regular mayonnaise.¹

Kraft Mayo with Olive Oil occupies the sweet spot between two powerful trends, "premium" and "health & wellness." Our chefs have developed recipes that deliver those messages in delicious, appealing ways. Here are menu solutions using Kraft Mayo with Olive Oil for a lower-calorie and lower-fat count than recipes using regular mayonnaise.

Veggie-Apple Slaw

Veggie-Apple Slaw

Using a snappy combination of apple, carrot, cabbage and zucchini studded with dried cranberries, our chefs bind the slaw with Kraft Mayo with Olive Oil and Kraft Ranch Dressing. At only 80 calories per serving, this side dish is perfect for diners seeking better-for-you, delicious dishes.

Citrus Chicken Salad Pitas

Citrus Chicken Salad Pitas

A fresh take on chicken salad, our chefs rely on Kraft Mayo with Olive Oil to bind the chicken and introduce a creamy mouthfeel. They add mandarin orange, almonds and fresh parsley, then scoop the salad into a pita for a satisfying sandwich.

Grilled-Curry Chicken Salad

Grilled-Curry Chicken Salad

Our chefs add another layer of flavor to this classic composed salad by grilling the chicken before binding it with Kraft Mayo with Olive Oil. Curry powder, celery, bell pepper and onion round out the profile.

Latin-Style Tuna Salad

Latin-Style Tuna Salad

Turn everyday tuna salad into a memorable, ethnic dish. Our chefs add Latin flavor with cumin, jalapeño, TAPATÍO Hot Sauce, fresh lime juice and fresh cilantro. Kraft Mayo with Olive Oil binds the tuna beautifully, adding the perfect texture to the dish.

Other Ways to Lighten Your Menu

Salads and Sides

Entrées

Drinks and Desserts

Embrace the Small-Plates Trend

We look at small plates through the lens of healthful, wholesome menu solutions. Read more here.

Low-Calorie Beverages Poised to Take Spotlight

Recently, the American Beverage Association launched its "Clear on Calories" initiative, which pledges to put calorie counts on the front of soda containers, soda fountains and vending machines by 2012. With consumers' growing awareness of what's in their beverages, offering them low-calorie, refreshing options might just catch their discerning eye.

Read our mocktail chart for ideas.

Further reading on "Clear on Calories" here.

Menu Labeling