The National Restaurant Association (NRA) announced the release of its “On The Menu: Restaurant Nutrition Initiatives” report, offering insight into nutrition trends and initiatives throughout the restaurant industry, including children’s nutrition, menu labeling, and food safety training.
“Nutrition and wellness are a top priority for the restaurant industry,” says Dawn Sweeney, president and CEO of NRA. “With consumers having an increased interest in health and nutrition, particularly over the past several years, our industry continues to find ways to meet the growing demand for nutritious options. This report highlights the great work restaurants are doing to promote health and wellness, as well as the challenges and goals currently facing the industry.”
As part of the industry’s commitment to nutrition, NRA created the Kids LiveWell program in collaboration with Healthy Dining, a first-of-its-kind initiative designed to help make the healthful choice the easy choice when dining out with children. The program continues to gain momentum, more than doubling in size since its launch with 140 participating restaurant brands representing more than 41,000 locations nationwide.
In addition, NRA led an industry coalition to establish uniform nutrition information for consumers nationwide. The federal menu labeling standard will require restaurant chains with 20 or more locations operating under the same brand to provide detailed nutrition information to consumers on menus and menu boards.
NRA also continues to be a resource for the industry on food safety training, with its ServSafe program launching a new ServSafe Allergens course to help restaurants serve the 15 million Americans with food allergies.
According to NRA’s 2013 Restaurant Industry Forecast, 86 percent of adults say there are more healthy options at restaurants than there were two years ago, and 71 percent of adults say they are trying to eat healthier now at restaurants than they did two years ago.
NRA research also shows that a third of all adults have gone online to get nutrition data on restaurant food, and four of the top ten hottest menu trends in the association’s What’s Hot in 2013 Chef Survey are nutrition related, including healthful kids’ meals and gluten-free cuisine.