The Beer Institute, the national trade association for brewers across the country, recently spearheaded a new initiative that will encourage brewers to voluntarily disclose a brew's nutrition profile on each can or bottle by 2020. The nutrition profile will include calories, carbohydrates, protein, fat and alcohol by volume. The Brewers' Voluntary Disclosure Initiative details the suggested provisions, which includes freshness dating, a full ingredient list, and a website that contains the nutrition information. These proactive measures, which are not required by law but rather required to maintain membership in The Beer Institute, validate the current health movement towards nutrition transparency and labeling. This will effect beer leaders including Anheuser-Busch, MillerCoors, HeinekenUSA and many more who have agreed to follow the standards put forth by The Beer Institute.
The Beer Institute cites a recent survey published by the Harris Poll® on behalf of Nielsen, validating their new position on nutrition labeling and transparency. It states that about 3 out of every 4 beer drinkers participating in the poll believe, "it’s important to read nutritional labels when buying food and beverages".
This proactive step by The Beer Institute is big news for the beer world, however it was highly anticipated by those operating in the restaurant industry. This is mostly due to the recent developments in the deadlines set forth by congress regarding Section 4205 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Section 4205 requires restaurant groups of 20 locations or greater to include caloric information on the menu for each food item with a compliance deadline on May 5, 2017. The movement towards beer nutrition labeling is a natural next step in regulation, or even more importantly, consumers' preferences when it comes to healthy lifestyle choices.
Accurately storing and displaying nutrition data will be a challenge for nationwide restaurant groups and brewers, alike. Although the timeline is closing in for restaurant groups to comply with nutrition transparency, it appears the The Beer Institute is proactively challenging their members to move ahead of legislation. This will give brewers a longer timeline for tackling the compliance in an effective and cost-friendly way. In 2017, beer labels will be a leading indicator for which brands are leading the charge in nutrition transparency.
If you operate a restaurant chain of 20 locations or more, May 5th 2017 should be a day you mark on your calendar. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) set this date as the deadline for compliance with the new regulations set for in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which includes menu labeling requirements. Menu labeling requirements refer to the labeling of calorie content of food and nutrition information as an effort to provide clear and accurate information to the consumer. This information will need to be directly accessible to the consumer in the restaurant, with the intent of increasing healthy dietary habits.
As restaurants begin looking for ways to cut costs, especially as the latest industry outlook has been gloomy through the end of the summer months and into the fall, several restaurant groups have prioritized technology as a driving investment. Technology investments are a strategy to reduce or replace costs in the long term, through increased efficiencies. In order to meet the May 5th, 2017 deadline, which some are referring to as Menu-geddon, restaurant owners are looking to online data display solutions as opposed to printed collateral. This is mostly due to the increasing turnover in food items that come and go from the menu, which results in more frequent print runs to keep nutritional data up-to-speed. Online solutions provide faster turnaround on nutrition updates, as well as decreased hard costs typically associated with printing.
The change in legislation recognizes a cultural shift towards healthy eating habits and more calorie-conscious consumers, an audience of which some restaurant groups are struggling to strike appeal. The legislation was originally intended to be in effect throughout 2016, but strong lobbying efforts pushed the deadline back to what is now deemed the final deadline of May 5th, 2017. The delay provided many hope that the Affordable Care Act would see appeal, but for those more realistic about its inevitability the extension provided a longer runway for gathering accurate nutrition data.
If you have questions about how the legislation change will impact your restaurant group, please do not hesitate to contact us for more information.