The impacts for food service of COVID-19 have been vast and wide-ranging. Recent research highlights another impact; the negative effect of rolling back US legislation around calorie labelling on menus. A new study shows that in as little as five years, calorie labeling on menus could help the country avoid more than 14,000 new cases of heart disease, and over 21,000 new cases of type 2 diabetes. The effectiveness of calorie labelling in changing dietary behaviour has been extensively debated but even small changes to decision making can lead to measurable improvements in health over time. Whilst another, less obvious benefit shouldn’t be forgotten, when restaurants are forced to be transparent about the nutrition content of their products, they’re incentivised to make their menu healthier, providing further public health benefits. Whilst temporary changes to menus mean labelling is currently difficult, we hope this roll-back doesn’t last longer than it has to.
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