Freshwater has been working with our clients over the past several years in preparation for
today. The US Food and Drug Administration’s food labeling program is, after much debate and
delay, finally in place. These Menu Labeling Compliance guidelines for calories were initiated by the 2010
Affordable Care Act.
Simply put, the law requires grocers and restaurants with 20 or more locations to list caloric
values for their menu items. In speaking with our clients, there have been a few slightly
different interpretations of what this all means. Clients taking a conservative approach have
decided to apply this regulation to all nameplates under their larger corporate umbrella
regardless if the individual nameplate does not have 20 locations. At the very least, identical
nameplates of 20 locations or more, must provide caloric values for listed items.
The National Grocers Association has been pushing against the regulation stating that this
regulation would be among the costliest endeavors the industry has faced. It is estimated that
$1 Billion dollars will be spent on testing, signage, employee training, and other associated
activities. There is current legislation that passed the House in February that would ease some
of the requirements, but there are still hurdles this amendment will face in the Senate.
Ultimately, it does not appear that major changes will be made to the law moving forward.
This regulation is another strong argument to consider the move to digital. Digital menus have
been providing our clients the flexibility of integrated pricing and daily featured deals, but also
provides the ability to display caloric values. This provides the additional value needed for
some reluctant clients to move forward with this technology.
Freshwater Digital has been providing menu board solutions with automated calorie
management for the last several years. Outside of helping our clients become compliant, we
have been able to help our clients increase overall sales by incorporating flexible pricing and
feature deals by time, day, and other triggers.
If federal regulation compliance is driving your interest in digital menu boards, give us a call and
we will help you find a digital solution that works for your business model.
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