Food & Beverage

What chefs need to know about menu nutrition

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Wellness and healthy eating are two huge trends in the food industry. In the restaurant world, this directly translates, not only into demand for healthier options on a menu, but also more transparency when it comes to what’s actually in the food. Providing nutritional information on menus has become a must – so, what do you need to know about it?

You might need to rethink your menu

Once you start providing menu nutrition, some customers might suddenly find themselves put off from dishes that they previously enjoyed.  The ability to balance flavour and nutrition is becoming increasingly essential. Incorporating more nutritionally dense foods (such as vegetables) and carefully using flavourful fat to make it go further can produce dishes that have the right levels of taste and healthy goodness.

Calories and fat are not the only options

It’s true that the calorie and fat content of dishes tend to be something of an obsession – and this information does input into customer decision making. However, that’s not where nutritional information on menus has to end. Salt and sugar content, as well as any high levels of vitamins and minerals, provide the information to make an informed choice. Fat also tends to get something of a bad rap - therefore breaking fat content down into ‘good’ or ‘bad’ (e.g. unsaturated and saturated) can be useful.

Menu nutrition – the practicalities

  • Make sure your information is accurate and you’re working from measured recipes
  • Include allergens in the data you provide
  • Ensure that the nutritional information takes portion size into account
  • Go further than just providing basic fat and calories
  • Expand your menu so that you’re offering a wide range of nutritional options
  • Consider customisable dishes with components that have nutritional impact e.g. dressing on the side, a protein rich sprinkle, fried or baked, with or without cheese.