Nutrition information at restaurants: Consumers prefer Informed Dining program over menu-board labels


MONTREAL, Aug. 14, 2014 /CNW/ - A proposal that would require restaurants to add calories to menu boards in Quebec is out of step with consumer demand and ignores the successful Informed Dining program that is currently being rolled out in thousands of chain restaurants.

According to research conducted by Environics Research for Restaurants Canada, 92% of Canadians feel it is important to know the nutrition breakdown of the foods they eat. Calories are number four on the list of most important nutrition information Canadians want from restaurants – behind total fat, sodium and trans fat. Sugar content rounds out the top five.

"Informed Dining is by far a more effective program than the one being proposed today by Marvin Rotrand, city councilor for NDG/Côte des Neiges. Canada's chain restaurants are committed to providing comprehensive nutrition information because their customers have a variety of nutrition needs," says Jean Lefebvre, Restaurants Canada vice president for Quebec. "Putting calories on a menu board does not address consumer demand and is out of synch with a successful program that is already being rolled out."

The survey also found that:


  • 83% of Canadians say that different individuals will be interested in different types of food information.

  • 90% feel they will be missing important information if restaurants were only to provide calorie information.

  • Only 6% of Canadians believe the best place to source nutrition information is from a menu board, and just 1 in 10 think menu boards can provide a complete nutrition picture.

  • Canadians prefer to source nutrition information on a restaurant's website (43%), in the menu (36%), in a brochure (24%) or on a mobile app (11%).

So far, 17 restaurant companies, representing more than 12,000 restaurants, including leading brands in Canada such as A&W, Dairy Queen, Harvey's, McDonald's, Milestones, Montana's, Pizza Pizza, Quiznos, Swiss Chalet and Tim Hortons have committed to implement Informed Dining nationally by the end of the year.

The government of British Columbia developed Informed Dining in conjunction with the restaurant industry.  Participating restaurants are required to:

  • Display the Informed Dining logo and directional statement on the menu and menu board to let diners know the information is available
  • Provide nutrition information  (calories and 13 core nutrients) for all standard menu items and highlight calorie and sodium content
  • Provide information regarding daily calorie and sodium requirements

    Restaurants Canada has presented the Informed Dining program to the Health Minister and hopes it will be adopted as the standard in Quebec.

Restaurants Canada is a national association comprising 30,000 businesses in every segment of the foodservice industry, including restaurants, bars, caterers, institutions and their suppliers.  Through advocacy, research, and member programs and services, Restaurants Canada is dedicated to helping its members in every community grow and prosper. 

Canada's restaurant industry directly employs more than 1.1 million Canadians, contributes $68 billion a year to the Canadian economy, and serves more than 18 million customers every day.

Note to editors : For more information on the Environics Research, visit Restaurants Canada's website : http://bit.ly/nutritioninfo.

SOURCE Restaurants Canada

For further information: Contact : Jean Lefebvre, Vice President Quebec, 514-448-2154 or 514-777-8438 (cell) or jlefebvre@restaurantscanada.org; or Mary Gazze, Communications Specialist at 416-649-4226 or 1-800-387-5649 ext. 4226, or email mgazze@restaurantscanada.org