Industry News | February 4, 2009

'Menu Labeling Is the Wave of the Future'

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The California Restaurant Association (CRA) today announced a partnership with FoodCalc, makers of an online tool, MenuCalc, which calculates the nutritional profile of recipes.

As a CRA preferred-vendor product, MenuCalc will provide CRA members with an exclusive discount of 10 percent off already low prices for nutrition analysis and regulatory compliance services.

The CRA-FoodCalc partnership represents a significant milestone for California, the first state in the country to pass menu-labeling legislation setting standards for the disclosure of caloric information. The result of collaboration between the Legislature, the Governor and the CRA, SB 1420 (Padilla) preempts local ordinances, requiring that chain restaurants with 20 or more locations provide nutritional information to consumers either on a menu or menu board. Other states are expected to follow in California’s footsteps, potentially leading to national legislation down the road.

“The CRA is excited to begin a partnership with FoodCalc as many of our members look for ways to comply with SB1420,” says Jot Condie, CRA president and CEO. “We see true value in their accurate online system, MenuCalc, combined with individualized access to trained registered dietitians. The partnership will provide our more than 22,000 members with exclusive discounts that are particularly important during these challenging economic times.”

“Menu labeling is the wave of the future, driven by increasing consumer health consciousness and demand for dietary information,” says Lucy Needham, president and CEO, FoodCalc. “Our mission is to offer all restaurants, regardless of size, a cost-effective and technologically-advanced nutritional analysis solution that helps them stay competitive in today’s tough economy. We are proud to partner with the CRA to help deliver outstanding value to its members.”

The MenuCalc product offers two solutions for restaurants. With the Web do-it-yourself Plan, users license MenuCalc’s online application for unlimited use and independently perform their nutrition analysis, assisted by training and customer support provided by MenuCalc’s expert staff. With the Registered Dietitian Plan, MenuCalc’s registered dietitians perform the analysis, contact ingredient suppliers and assure compliance of all locations under menu labeling bills. Both plans generate instant results that can be customized and exported into programs like Microsoft Word and Excel. Completed nutrition data can easily be printed, emailed and shared via brochures, menus and Web sites.

Restaurants that have signed up for MenuCalc’s nutrition analysis include San Francisco-based Specialty's Café & Bakery, San Mateo -based Peninsula Coffee Roaster & Deli and Florida-based Asian Chao (owned by Food Systems Unlimited).

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