Readily available nutrition information on food items became the norm for most US shoppers when ingredients, caloric data, and other specific categories of food profiling were made visible based on certain FDA labeling requirements in 1990. The Nutrition Labeling and Education Act allows shoppers access to even more information about food products, whether fixed on the websites of food franchises, or on actual product packaging.
Recent attempts to extend this philosophy to food franchises and the restaurant industry in general have been met with support and challenges alike. From 2010, the project of getting foods labeled where they are served, be it prepackaged at a grocery store, at a quick service restaurant or beyond has been met with different challenges from lobbying entities hoping to be excluded from the effects of this new health care law.
Certain pizza franchises in particular, with such a varied menu and numerous topping options, have voiced concerns over the heavy burden new labeling requirements will pose if each and every potential meal should present with a ready-made label for diners. 2011 proposed guidelines exempted certain establishments, such as those with fewer than 20 locations, and establishments serving food as a secondary service, as well as the labeling of alcoholic beverages, though these guidelines are currently under review once again.
Many grocery stores and convenience stores are concerned that the excessive labeling requirements will cover the vast majority of foods, whether pre-packaged or not, and in addition to high costs for implementation, will clutter the stores beyond reason.
While nutrition facts labeling has always generated some controversy and disagreement, the primary aim of including various food sellers is to make labeling available to consumers at various point of sale locations, from local drive through QSRs to convenience stores selling premade food items. Nonetheless, the specific details of the new law and how food franchises will be required to comply are yet to be seen though making calorie information readily available for customers is the goal.
Details surrounding the new law are currently under construction and are set to become available during the spring, though delays are possible with many attempting to exempt their sector from its authority.
Many restaurants have set themselves in compliance with the new law and are supportive of the shifts, though there remain some, like certain pizza franchises as mentioned above, that are concerned about the impacts of the law on daily operation and costs associated with the switch. US consumers have never before had in their favor the availability of information concerning healthful eating choices like this, which highlights how changing legislation has an ongoing impact within the food franchise world and beyond. Shifts such as this can alter the kinds of food franchise concepts that thrive and how consumers choose to eat out once nutritional information becomes even more visible.