Saturday, March 20, 2010


Food labeling regulations world over are intended to enlighten the consumer regarding the "horoscope" of the contents in side. How far it serves the purpose is an issue worthy of debate amongst the various stake holders but what is certain is that food industry and the trade know how to get around any stipulations, making the consumer vulnerable to cheating. While organized industry at least gives some information about the products it delivers, catering sector is having a heyday with absolutely no accountability regarding the foods they rig up and offer to their customers. The clientele of the restaurant sector is developed by the sensory quality of products served rather than the nutritional parameters. What happens if consumers are provided with right information about some of the critical health related ingredients like calories, is borne out by a mammoth survey carried out recently in New York.

"This might come as an unpleasant surprise for the fast-food industry, but when people can read how many calories there are in their fast food, they do cut back. In a study of millions of transactions at several hundred Starbucks outlets, economists from Stanford University found that consumers in New York City responded to required calorie postings by cutting almost 15 calories off their average purchases, a calorie reduction of 6 percent".

How far restaurants can be trusted to give actual figures vis-a-vis calories and fat remains to be seen as some reports do indicate fudging of the data to make the products look less in calories. Enforcement also may pose logistical problems as the recipes can be changed quickly at the time of inspection to show less calories while high calorie and high fat products are regularly peddled to the customers. There is an eternal conflict between taste and nutrition and generally more the nutritional value of a food, less tasty would be the product!.

No comments: