FDA Menu Labeling Compliance Deadline is Fast-Approaching
For many young adults, college is the first time they’re leaving home for a long period of time, becoming 100% responsible for their personal consumption choices. Many students take health and cooking classes while attending high school but these classes can’t fully prepare them to make healthy eating decisions for three meals a day or more. According to dosomething.org, the most drastic weight changes occur during the first semester of college due to the radical change of environment and routine, leaving college and university foodservice operators with an important responsibility to educate students on what they’re consuming and empower them to make better dining decisions. As dietary needs and health issues continuously evolve, the use of technology in campus foodservice improves communication of vital nutrition information to help students and other diners make healthier, more informed consumption choices.
Online Ordering Supports Educated Campus Dining Decisions
More than 70 percent of American adults age 20 and older are overweight or obese, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and who hasn’t heard of the “Freshman 15?” With a statistic like that, customers increasingly want to know nutritional facts, ingredients, dietary restrictions, sourcing information, and other health-related material about what they consume so they can lead healthier lives. The Affordable Care Act, also known as “Obamacare,” is geared towards improving different aspects of our nation’s state of health and title IV prioritizes healthier communities and the prevention of chronic disease. This affects foodservice establishments that fall within specific criteria found on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) website and could include non-commercial college and university foodservice operations.* One requirement of the mandate states that affected operations need to clearly display calorie information and a daily caloric intake statement on both printed and online menus by the compliance deadline coming up in May 2018.
In a world where customers research menu offerings and reviews before even thinking about placing an order, foodservice operations must have and maintain a digital presence and keep online menus up-to-date with the information customers are looking for. College and university foodservice operators who offer online ordering to students and on-campus diners satisfy tech-savvy customers who expect the option of ordering at their convenience with the added value of being able to easily locate desired nutritional information. This builds trust in your company to drive business and improve the overall customer experience.
Technology not only improves communication but also saves operators time from constantly being on the phone taking orders, recording order changes, and answering dietary and menu-related questions from customers. According to a survey conducted by CaterTrax of over 4,000 foodservice professionals, there is an average of 5 phone calls totaling 26 minutes spent on the phone to fulfill just one order. And with the growing complexity of dietary needs, the amount of time spent on the phone will just continue to increase.
So, why wait to comply with the FDA’s menu labeling mandate?
Make Strides Towards FDA Compliance Now
An up-to-date online menu lets consumers make educated decisions on what to eat to complement ever-evolving dietary needs. Foodservice management software makes it simple for non-commercial foodservice operations within colleges and universities to educate diners on the nutritional value of their menu offerings through online ordering. For establishments affected by the FDA’s menu labeling mandate, it will take time to gather all the necessary menu and nutritional information so it’s key to start preparing now before the May deadline approaches. CaterTrax developed TRAXTrition to improve the online ordering experience and make it simple for operators to display nutritional values on their online menus, even beyond what the legal requirements will be. Many CaterTrax clients have already implemented this functionality but if you have yet to update your site with the required nutritional information, our CaterTrax Menu Team is ready to work with you.
Comply with the FDA’s deadline early to start encouraging healthy, informed eating choices now so customers have a deeper understanding of the food they eat to promote happier, healthier communities. Get started by calculating calorie counts on your menu with this helpful, easy-to-use tool.
*Disclaimer: CaterTrax is not advising nor is responsible for determining whether or not partners or clients (contracted or self-operated) must adhere to the statute nor their basis for its nutrient content declarations. Further, partners and clients are responsible for determining their own course of action regarding obedience to the statute and nutrient content declarations.