Over eating and consumption of high calorie foods have been blamed for many health disorders in modern society and governments world over are seized of the matter trying to create awareness about bad 'foods' and bad 'eating'. According to sociologists and psychologists, the consumers are often unaware of the caloric density of the foods being offered to them at public eateries as most of them do not display nutrition information on the foods prepared. In an interesting study, investigators have brought out the fact that consumers do make correct choice of better foods if nutrient information is provided to them before taking the orders.
Many restaurants are compelled to provide nutrient information per serving of each of their products, the most important one being calorie content. This trend is spreading and in many places the practice is made mandatory. Some surveys have brought out the fact if a choice is given between high and moderate calorie containing foods consumers consciously pick up lower calories foods. In absence of information about the calorie and fat in various preparations, consumers do not think about these issues while dining out. It is true that the taste and flavor of foods served ultimately decide about the popularity of an eatery and providing such foods with lesser calories and fat is a challenge the catering sector must take up earnestly.
In a recent study covering millions of consumers visiting one of the most famous international coffee chain restaurants furnishing calorie information on their products, it was brought out that on an average there was about 10% reduction in total calories consumed by the customers over a certain period. This again brings out clearly the impact of nutrition profiling of restaurant foods if any meaningful impact is to be made on the over eating and weight juggernaut that is facing the population, especially in affluent countries.
Such studies and surveys confirm the already suspected link between consumer information and wise choice of right foods in restaurants and food outlets. Though obesity is not yet a critical problem in India, if adequate precautionary policies are not thought of at present, it may be too late when the problem actually stare at us in a few years from now. Probably creation of an "Authority" to oversee the restaurant sector with regard to the safety of the products offered, their health implications and quality of infrastructure necessary for ensuring public safety may be the need of the hour, especially in India where public accountability is progressively being down graded.