news & trends

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

 

What’s on the MENU? Calorie labelling!

what's on the menu blog march 2017

Have you noticed the new calorie labelling on Ontario chain restaurant menus? Operators, servers and consumers are coming to grips with the new reality of revealing calories in a serving of food. We’ve been busy moderating partnership events and engaging with stakeholders about the challenges of the new menu labelling. The events were in collaboration with Canadian Association of Foodservice Professionals (CAFP), Restaurants Canada and Dietitians of Canada.

A shout out to fellow dietitian Donna Bottrell who did a terrific job organizing the events, and to Nancy Hewitt President CAFP Toronto for her support.

CAFP lucia moderator event
From left: Donna Bottrell, organizer of the event; Nancy Hewitt, CFE, President of the CAFP Toronto Branch; Susan Somerville, Dean, from Humber College, and Panelist Jamie Rillet and Moderator Lucia Weiler.

Here is a snapshot of what we heard:

  • ‘Medium and small chains are looking for guidance and consistency from the Government.’ Jamie Rilett, Restaurants Canada
  • ‘It’s challenging for a server to explain the calorie range for a serving size. More support and education would be helpful’ K.B.Bose, Shoeless Joe’s
  • ‘There is the nutrient variable to consider and educate about. How to address the fact that milk has more calories than pop but it’s also more nutritious?’ Katie Jessop RD
  • ‘Collaboration is needed between food professionals: chefs, dietitians and nutritionists.  And we are eating foods- not just one food. Food combinations in menus can help create healthier options. Nutrition professionals can assist operators and consumers.’   Lucia Weiler RD
  • ‘A lot of time was spent by Aramark in the initial analysis…they made sure to standardize recipes and then tested and tested which led to a recipe database.’ Karen Williams, Aramark
  • ‘Menu calorie labelling is just the beginning. There is a future importance for all aspects of nutrition and food, especially sustainable processing. Millennial consumers are very conscious about the’ what’ and the ‘how’ of food.’ K.B.Bose, Shoeless Joe’s

For more stakeholder views and participant feedback please contact us. We would be happy to help your team formulate unique insights that integrate our Registered Dietitian expertise in food and nutrition and provide you with solutions that both foodservice professionals and consumers can use.

Veggies are Trending for Culinary Inspirations

Pictured: Cohen’s Broccoli Dogs - grilled and smoked broccoli sautéed in broccoli oil, and served with a side of broccoli kraut and broccoli rabe chips.

Pictured: Cohen’s Broccoli Dogs – grilled and smoked broccoli sautéed in broccoli oil, and served with a side of broccoli kraut and broccoli rabe chips.

“Anyone can cook a hamburger, leave vegetables to the professionals.”

That’s Amanda Cohen’s mantra. The Canadian born chef and owner of Dirt Candy restaurant in NYC is on to something with her vegetable inspired menu. Here are highlights from our interview with Cohen.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Cohen: I was born in Ottawa but grew up in Toronto. I came to New York to go to NYU and never looked back. I wet to the Natural Gourmet Institute’s Chef’s Training Program and after that I worked in pretty much every single restaurant I could for about 10 years. I realized that no one was going to give me a chance to cook the kind of food I wanted to cook, so I opened the original Dirt Candy in 2008. It’s been going like gangbusters ever since.

What inspired you to focus on vegetables only?

Cohen: There are hundreds of steak houses, thousands of seafood restaurants, millions of hamburger restaurants, but Dirt Candy is the only restaurant that only focuses on vegetables. I’m not making vegetarian food, and I’m not making fish with a lot of vegetable sides. I’m cooking vegetables. I’m sitting here in my kitchen and running it like a lab, seeing how far I can push each vegetable and what kind of flavor I can get out of them. No one else is doing this, so for me, it’s like being in the Wild West. There are no rules, and no one telling me what I should do. I love it!

What are vegetables so tricky to work with?

Cohen: Vegetables are tricky because they have no fat…fat carries flavor, so you have to add [flavor] yourself. Also, vegetables have a high water content that you have to get rid of somehow when you cook them. And finally, vegetables have a uniform texture throughout and don’t have the different flavours and textures that say a big chunk of steak will have. To make vegetables taste good, you really have to work.

Tell us about your Broccoli Dogs!

Cohen: I spent three months trying to make them work before throwing everything out and starting from scratch, which took another four weeks. I experimented with 38 different doughs before finding the right one I use for the bun.

Any plans to open a Dirt Candy in Canada sometime??

Cohen: I wish!

Top Trends at Grocery Innovations Canada 2014

Grocery Innovations Canada is the annual “must attend” event for professionals involved in the retail and food service industry. We were there again this year to see what’s hot and what’s not, as well as to check out new food and beverage innovations.

Here are the top five trends that jumped out at us.

  1. Clean ingredient list. Consumers are looking for pronounceable ingredients. What is NOT on the label is as important to consumers as what IS printed on the packaging.  More shoppers are asking for ‘natural’ or unprocessed products. We expect to see more of this “ free of ….“ focus in the future.
  2. Ethnic flavours continue to be a strong trend. Food makers anticipate a growth in Asian, Indian and Latin America cuisine.
  3. Supermarket Chef Showdown!  Canadians eat out often and busy shoppers are looking for help with prepared meals. Supermarket chefs showed their talents on how they create delicious and healthy meals to attract food loving grocery shoppers. In the Globe and Mail, Marina Strauss reports on this fast growing grocery-resto or takeout trend calling it the “Grocerant”
  4. Chocolate, Chia and Coconut were notable ingredient trends. New product innovations with chocolate included baked goods, lactose free chocolate milk (Natrel) and chocolate flavoured peanut butter (Kraft).  Chia seeds were introduced in new yogurts (Olympic), cereals and breads. (Chia seeds are similar to flax seed and contain omega-3 fats and boost fibre.) Coconut was featured in whipped cream from Gay Lea Foods, and in Campbell’s Thai Tomato Coconut Soup.
  5. Go Green theme was evident in several sustainable and environmentally friendly innovations. For example “Green” shopping bags are made of material that resists bacterial growth and the Green Lid bins are completely compostable containers made from recyclable cardboard and newsprint.

USA Restaurant Menu Labelling – What’s up? What’s Next?

US national menu labelling is expected to come into force this summer. The new regulations aim to ensure calorie labelling on menus and menu boards in chain restaurants, retail food establishments, and vending machines with 20 or more locations.  We recently joined a US National Restaurant Association info session where we heard insights about what to expect next.

The intent of the menu labelling law is that: “People need nutritional information to exercise personal responsibility at the point of ordering in restaurants.” As such, the following 3 key features are expected on US restaurant menus and menu boards:

  1. The number of calories will be disclosed with the word “Calories’ or ‘Cal’ posted next to number.
  2. The following statement to help put the number of calories into context: “A 2,000 calorie diet is used as the basis for general nutrition advice; however individual needs may vary.”
  3. Additional nutrients (such as fat and sodium) will be available upon request, but not necessarily posted on the menu.

Mandatory menu labelling is a controversial issue for reasons that include menu variability and questions about long-term impact. However, health and consumer groups welcome the calorie and nutrient information regulations.

Research shows that seeing calories on the menu impacts immediate purchase decisions and that consumers tend to underestimate the caloric content of menu items, especially those with higher calories.  It’s important to put calorie education in context so it does not become an issue whether the menu item is 400 or 420 calories. Menu labelling is about providing information so that consumers can make an informed choice between something that’s 1200 calories versus 200 calories.

Will Health Canada follow the US restaurant menu labelling? Only time will tell, and we’ll keep you posted. More information about next steps in menu labelling is available by contacting us.