From January 1, 2022, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) has underlined that “display of information” (Menu labeling) in food service establishments will be critical for Food Business Operators (FBOs).
The calorie amount of food products must be displayed on menu cards for restaurant chains and online food aggregators, according to new legislation.
The guideline is based on the 9th Amendment to the Food Safety and Standards (Packaging and Labeling) Regulations, 2011, which was published on the 21st of August, 2020. The goal is to offer consumers all nutritional facts about their food.
The FSSAI has taken into account the fact that menu labeling is a relatively new practice in Indian restaurants. Furthermore, the hotel and restaurant industry is still recovering from the pandemic’s impact. It will take time for FBOs to adjust to and accept the new system.
The “calorific value in kcal per serving and serving size” of food items must be displayed on menu cards, booklets, or boards in food service facilities (restaurants, QSRs, cafés) with central licenses or outlets at 10 or more locations. E-commerce food business owners will have to get their restaurant partners to publish calorie information on their digital platforms.
Restaurant menu cards will need to clearly list allergen information for each recipe. Menu cards, pamphlets, and menu boards will also need to have logos for vegetarian and non-vegetarian items. The FSSAI has said that till June 30, 2022, no sampling of the food items mentioned on the menu cards/boards/booklets by FBOs will be carried out to check/verify the respective declarations of calorific value and nutritional information.
The FSSAI has also stated that any non-compliance can be handled by issuing an improvement notice under Section 32 of the FSS Act, 2006 in order to encourage future compliance. The instruction was issued with the agreement of the Competent Authority, which was acting under the authority vested in the Food Authority by Section 16(5) of the FSS Act, 2006.
The impact of such labeling rules on both industry and consumers is frequently discussed, but it is important to remember that the impact of such regulatory changes must be considered in the long run rather than in the short term. Let’s have a look at the potential impact on the food business and consumers.
While the majority of customers assume that restaurants are required to disclose nutritional information on menu items, they rarely ask for it. Consumers will have access to the calorie value of their favorite dishes across all of their favorite outlets once this regulation is in force.
Nutrition Consumers will be able to make more informed, healthier choices thanks to the information on the menu card. Food-related rational decision-making will have a favorable impact on consumers’ health in the country.
Reading the ingredient list, nutritional information, allergen list, and other information about menu items instill trust in the consumer’s thinking about the brand. Consumers typically appreciate restaurants’ attempts to share accurate information in an ethical and transparent manner.
Reading food nutrition information will promote better awareness of food and its impact on consumer health, as well as extend the conversation to dining tables across the country. Furthermore, the move will instill conscious consumption as a lifelong habit in children.
If this information has caught your interest in how menu labeling might improve Indian dining experiences and you want to learn more about the FSSAI’s menu labeling laws, the first step is to do a nutrition analysis of your menu items. It is important not just to be in compliance with the law but also to build consumer trust and openness on a development that is now at the forefront of consumers’ concerns.