news & trends

Call to action: protecting people with allergies


Food Allergy Canada 2018-07-15_16-41-56Concerned about food allergy? It can be deadly and is something we all need to be more aware of. Students with food allergies are particularly vulnerable as they start college or university because of the big transition to more independent eating and living.

Food Allergy Canada just released a reference guide focusing on the challenges and recommended best practices for managing food allergies in post-secondary institutions. Protecting people with food allergies is a big responsibility in every food environment.

In our work as dietitians and food safety trainers, we know managing food allergies is a top priority for foodservice professionals who dedicate much time and effort to supporting people who live with food allergies. Based on our experience and the terrific insights in the Food Allergy Canada report, here are three key actions for foodservice operators to help reduce food allergy risks:

  1. Educate and Train
  • Help your team understand the seriousness of food allergies – they can be deadly – and what can be done to reduce the risks.
  • Offer allergy related training and in-service updates to foodservice staff and community leaders.
  • Work with a qualified professional, such as a Registered Dietitian to provide certified continuing education to your team.
  1. Create a Food Allergy Policy & Management System
  • Create leadership driven policies and procedures help guide the actions of all individuals to ensure the well-being of everyone with a food allergy / sensitivity.
  • Involve cross functional teams including people / students with a food allergy.
  • Build a food-allergen aware culture to significantly reduce the risks.
  1. Offer Allergen-Safe Food choices
  • AVOIDING the specific foods responsible is the BEST way to prevent allergic reactions.
  • Always READ the Ingredients list from start to end. Food labelling for pre-packaged food is regulated in Canada. If a priority food allergen, gluten source or added sulphite is an ingredient or part of an ingredient of a food it must be listed either in the ingredient list OR in a “Contains” statement that follows the list. When you review food labels for allergens, “Triple Check” and read the label three times: 1. Before buying, 2. Before putting away, 3. Before serving.[1] Encourage students to read food labels too!
  • Managing allergens in foodservice follows similar procedures as food safety. In addition to checking the Ingredients List, cross contact / cross contamination is a key focus.

For more information, check out this important resource for professionals and families.  Food Allergy Canada’s new Managing Food Allergies and Anaphylaxis: A Guide for Post-Secondary Institutions is available for download at http://foodallergycanada.ca/campusguide. Please share with your colleagues, students and campuses! Questions? Shout out to us info@NutritionForNonNutritionists.com

[1] Food Allergy Canada, Food Labelling 101 http://resources.allergyaware.ca/download/food-labelling-101.pdf

Beware of Free Food in the Workplace!

workplace conference eating

Does your workplace offer free food at meetings, events or in the common area? Turns out that all of this free food can be adding about 1,300 empty calories to your week!

A one of a kind study in the USA analyzed the food and beverage choices of over 5,000 employees who either purchased food from on-site vending machines or the cafeteria, or obtained food for free in common areas, at meetings or at workplace social events. The preliminary results, presented at last month’s meeting of the American Society of Nutrition, found that nearly 25% of the employees obtained food from work at least once a week which added up to almost 1,300 calories by the end of the week. The bad news is that the food and beverages tended to be high in empty calories which contain little to no nutrition. Even worse news is that over 70% of the calories consumed came from free food that was offered in the workplace such as pizza, soda, cookies, brownies, cake and candy.

Bottom line:
About 87% of Canadian employees have personal goals to eat healthier foods. Workplaces can play a huge role in helping employees eat better and improve their food habits. Start by creating a workplace healthy eating policy to ensure access and availability of healthy options in foodservice, vending machines and at workplace meetings / events. We can assess your current offerings and help you build and implement a winning workplace healthy eating policy that will boost productivity and performance! Contact us here or at info@NutritionForNonNutritionists.com for more details and / or to book an inspiring workplace wellness presentation for your team.

International Trends

Food regulations are changing all around the globe and we’re keeping an eye on international policies that may impact your business. Click here to discover more about 3 impactful changes – USA Menu Labelling, Ireland Sugar Tax and WHO Marketing to Kids. Contact us to discuss more about these emerging trends and the connection to your business and health and wellness.

  1. USA Menu labelling goes national
Menu labelling usa N4NN news May 2018
(Image source: FDA.GOV)

USDA’s menu labelling has reached the compliance deadline.  As of May 7, 2018 USA consumers now have access to calorie and nutrition information in restaurants and similar retail food establishments that are part of a chain with 20 or more locations. This information inspired competition among producers to formulate food in ways that make it more healthful. In 2017, Ontario became the first province in Canada to include mandatory menu labelling of calories. What’s your plan to leverage the power of food? Are you using science-based attributes to make your foods healthier? We are Registered Dietitians who can help!

Source: US Food & Drug Administration, Menu Labeling Requirements and Marion Nestle PhD www.foodpolitics.com

  1. Ireland’s new sugar tax on soft drinks takes effect May 1st.
sugar tax N4NN news May 2018
(Image source Independent ie Newsdesk)

 

Irish consumers are now seeing that high-sugar drinks have become more expensive under the Sugar Sweetened Drinks Tax. The 16c tax applies to water or juice-based drinks with between 5-8g of sugar per 100ml. The soft drinks tax rises to 24c per litre for varieties with more than 8g of sugar.

The tax only applies to water and juice-based drinks with added sugar. Fruit juices and dairy products are exempt from the tax on the ground that they offer some nutritional value.

Regulators expect soft drinks companies will reformulate their products in order to avoid the tax. The move has been welcomed by the Irish Heart Foundation.  It is hoped the sugar tax will play an important role in tackling Ireland’s obesity crisis, with one in four Irish children currently overweight or obese.

Back here at home, the North West Territories is considering a sugary drink tax in 2018-2019.

Source: Independent.ie Newsdesk

  1. UN WHO weighs in against Marketing to kids

WHO M2K N4NN news May 2018 M2K N4NN news May 2018
(Image source:WHO.org & Nutrition for NON Nutritionists)

UN health officials consider plan to ‘outlaw’ fast food giants from charitable work with kids says a memo reported in the news. UK media says WHO calls for ‘stringent regulation’ to block firms, such as KFC and McDonalds from marketing fast food to under the age of 18. This report is consistent with published WHO workplan to end childhood obesity. This implementation plan included tackling the marketing of unhealthy foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children. The Commission advised to adopt, and implement effective measures, such as legislation or regulation, to restrict the marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children and thereby reduce the exposure of children and adolescents to such marketing.

Marketing to Kids (M2K) is a key issue in Canada too. On May 1, 2018, the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health proposed to reduce the age of restriction to under age 13 (from under age 17). Final regulations are expected to be released in June.

Source: WHO Executive Board 140th session, Steve Hawkes, Deputy Political Editor The SUN(UK)

Innovation Unleashed – 5 hot topics from Canada’s largest foodservice trade event

rc show 2018

 

People LOVE food – it unites us all! The power of food is everywhere and the Restaurants Canada show Innovation Unleashed was a great place to discover fascinating insights on advances in the foodservice industry. We were there and connected with Operators, Presidents, Buyers, Agents, Chefs & more about key industry issues and the future of hospitality. #RCShow18

Here are the 5 hot topics that caught our interest as food and nutrition experts:

  1. Where does food come from? Local is by far still the biggest trend in restaurants today and expected to keep gaining momentum. Running a profitable restaurant, maintaining food costs, and satisfying the local trend is challenging for many businesses. Restaurants are discovering how to incorporate local ingredients to menu items  while boosting the bottom line.
  2. Why does food go to waste?  Stats are shocking…too much of the food cooked in restaurants is thrown away. What about grocery stores? Does food end up in the waste bin because it doesn’t look good? Consumers’ attention is moving beyond where food comes from to where food is going. With such tight margins let’s keep the food out of the trash bin. Speakers also discussed a “Feed it Forward Food Insecurity” option where safe, unused and unsold food destined for landfill could be donated to those who are hungry and in need of food aid.
  3. Wellness anyone? Want to make better-for-you foods and boost your sales with claims? There are labelling laws & science for that!  The power of good food and nutrition has a direct connection to health. Good energy, focus, concentration and productivity are all benefits of healthy food choices throughout the day. As dietitians, we translate the science of nutrition to unlock foods’ potential and support healthy living for Canadians. Call us with your wellness boosting food & menu questions – we can help!
  4. Beverage menu in focus. Coffee and tea are popular beverages among Canadians.  Research-based industry trends showed strong areas of opportunity for Restaurateurs, including the largely untapped world of decaf coffee and herbal tea. Tea and food pairing is a trending opportunity. The positive impact of Non-Alcoholic Cocktails can create memorable drinking experiences while striving for a more balanced lifestyle. Cheers to that – healthy hydration never looked better!
  5. Future of Food & Eating. Space research yields fascinating insights on innovation in the hospitality industry. Expert panelists discussed technology, new agriculture, experiential eating, personalized foods and more that will transform the future of everything edible.

For more foodservice trends and consumer insights that can elevate your business contact us info@NutritionForNonNutritionists.com or join us at the 11th annual Nutrition for NON-Nutritionists course on April 18, 2018, University of Toronto. Register at www.NutritionForNONNutritionists.com