The New Year introduced an interesting new change for Vermont restaurants. As of Jan. 1, restaurants in the Green Mountain State are required to include calorie information for all menu items and menu boards. Not all restaurants will be making these changes as it will be limited to restaurants with 20 or more locations nationwide. The menus are also supposed to say how many calories a person is supposed to have a day.
The new law is designed to help people gain a better understanding of how many calories they are consuming while dining out. The concept is that people will see the calorie content in their meals, and make healthier choices when going out.
There are drawbacks to the law, however.
The main concern is that these restaurants have to pay for these menu changes out of their own pockets. The menu changes are said to cost nearly a thousand dollars, and for owners of two or three restaurants in a franchise, these costs add up quickly.
The addition of the calories on the menu will raise some eyebrows. Consumers may think that ordering a Caesar Salad instead of a Bacon Cheeseburger would be a healthier choice, but how much healthier is it?
Well, at Applebee’s, a regular Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad has 800 calories, 56 fat calories, and 1610mg of sodium. A Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger has 970 calories, 60 fat calories and 1630mg of sodium. When you’re facing that many calories, is 170 extra going to stop you from getting that burger you’ve been craving?
So, will these menu’s calorie counters be beneficial to consumers, or will many look at the number and disregard it all together?
Most likely, yes they will disregard it.
Most people don’t go out to restaurants because they want to eat healthy. People go out to eat to satisfy their hunger, and when they have to pay for a meal, they are going to get whatever they want to eat, whether it’s the healthy choice or not.
While the state of Vermont is trying to do its best to make people healthier, calorie counters probably aren’t the way to go.