Menu Labeling: The Consumers Have Spoken(?)

Online trade news source Nation’s Restaurant News reports that a whopping 74 percent of American adults want laws compelling restaurants to post a nutritional analysis of every item listed on their menus or menu boards.

The survey, released this week by Technomic Inc., seems a little fishy. First of all, how does one create a complete nutritional analysis of every food and beverage offered without creating 15-page menus with all the graphic appeal of a Bulgarian phone book? Do 74 percent of all adults really want that? Secondly, who or what exactly is Technomic Inc.?

OK—a bit of Googling reveals that it seems to be a perfectly legit food-industry research firm with 40 years of experience. But still, the 74 percent figure may reveal a lot of internal disagreement and shades of gray when it gets run through the wringer of practical application in the real world. Not to mention lawsuits, of course: A New York City menu labeling law is already under legal fire from the New York State Restaurant Association.