Azara Blog: Some restaurants are going to display calories on their menus

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Date published: 2009/04/06

The BBC says:

Hundreds of food outlets will start displaying calorie information on menus later this month, ministers say.

A first wave of 18 firms will trial the scheme, aimed at getting people to eat more healthily.

High street chains including Pizza Hut and Burger King have signed up, along with staff canteens.

The move, brokered by the Food Standards Agency, is similar to a labelling system introduced in New York last year.

It comes after surveys showed the public wanted more information about the food they buy.

A poll of 2,000 people by the FSA in 2008 found 85% were in favour of catering outlets displaying nutritional data.

Surveys are almost inevitably meaningless. First of all, the wording is skewed to give the answer the people who conduct the survey want. In particular, there is never any context given to the questions. So were the 85% of people who were allegedly "in favour of catering outlets displaying nutritional data" given any information about how much this would cost (which of course the customer is going to end up paying) or were they told that calorie information is a very narrow indicator of what is and is not an allegedly healthy diet? Of course the FSA has to justify its existence and perpetually come up with ideas like this. Whether this kind of academic middle class control freakery actually makes any sense is another matter.

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