With more consumers looking for healthier fare when eating out, restaurants are focusing on ways to give diners nutritious alternatives.
But restaurant owners and chefs aren’t the only people looking to give consumers new options in selecting healthy foods. Across the country, legislators are passing new laws that affect how Americans make their dining choices, Restaurant News notes.
The top three trends in healthy food legislation for 2012, according to Restaurant News, are:
- Menu labeling: Restaurants with 20 or more locations will have to comply with new menu labeling rules to be released by the Food & Drug Administration early next year. Under the new rules, affected restaurants will have provide calorie counts and nutritional information for menu items. Some fast-food vendors, including McDonald’s (NYSE:MCD) have already implemented calorie counts on their menus. Vending machines will also be covered by the rules. Coca-Cola (NYSE:KO) and PepsiCo (NYSE:PEP) have already agreed to start putting calorie information on the soda-vending machines next year. Movie theater chains and hotels could also end up included in the new regulations.
- Sugary Beverage Restrictions: This year, New York City adopted a ban on the sale of sodas and drinks over 16 ounces at restaurants, fast-food locations and theaters. The ban was pushed by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has also waged a campaign to lower salt consumption. More cities are expected to follow in New York’s footsteps in the coming year.
- Allergy Awareness: With reports of food ingredient sensitivity rising, a number of states are moving to protect consumers with food allergies. Food service groups have formed the Food Allergy Conference to help create an industry strategy to deal with the issue. Restaurants in Massachusetts and Rhode Island must now display allergy awareness warnings to apprise workers of how to prevent and respond to allergic reactions. Some studies find that food allergies are rising worldwide.
For more restaurant trends see Restaurant News.