Feasibility of Voluntary Menu Labeling Among Locally Owned Restaurants
Office of Community Assessment at the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department, WA, USA. Health Promotion Practice
(Impact Factor: 0.55).
01/2011; 12(1):18-24. DOI: 10.1177/1524839910386182
In 2007, Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department launched a restaurant menu labeling project called SmartMenu. The objective was to recruit locally owned restaurants to voluntarily post basic nutrition information on their menus or menu boards. Participating restaurants submitted recipes to an independent contractor for nutritional analysis and agreed to post calorie, fat, carbohydrate, and sodium values on new menus within 90 days of receiving results. Vigorous recruitment efforts by the Health Department between June 2007 and September 2008 included free advertising, consultation with a Registered Dietitian, and free nutritional analysis. By the end of 2008, a total of 24 restaurants participated in the program. Significant barriers to participation included infrequent use of standardized recipes, perceived business risk of labeling, and low perceived customer demand for nutrition information. Key program elements, recruitment strategies, and costs are discussed. Results have important implications for future efforts to increase the adoption of menu labeling by locally owned and operated restaurants.
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