During the months since we left Australia, the large fast food brands have started putting calorie information in their menus. In Australia, this dietary information was previously available in the outlet or online, but now the values are next to individual items on the above-counter menu displays.
Gloria Jeans – coffee choices with calories
The effect for me was dramatic. We enjoyed meals from a couple of fast food outlets – in particular, those we can not get locally in Lyon, Oporto and Gloria Jeans. Seeing the difference in calories between a small, medium, and large was enough for me to consistently pick the smaller size of any two I was comparing.
This shift to showing the calories does not appear to be a legal requirement. Smaller food outlets are not displaying this information but most of the larger brand outlets are. Is this an attempt at self regulation and responsible food retailing?
One choice is to realise that the calorie information displayed often assumes a zero calorie drink with any meal option. A can of sugary 375ml drink can easily add another 675kJ to a meal.
Unchanged is the notion that these types of meals are to be enjoyed sparingly and as part of a balanced lifestyle. I wonder if having the calorie information immediately on display will change the way people see these food types and the available choices.
Oporto chicken burgers and calorie counts
Subway sandwiches and calorie counts
Muffin Break drinks and calorie counts
Muffin Break cakes and calories on display
Muffin Break Choc Mousse Cake and calorie count behind glass
KFC meal choices and calorie counts
KFC chicken burger and text about calorie choices
MacDonalds meals and calorie counts with fries or salad