When Nutritional Labeling is an Afterthought

May 25, 2010

Imagine what your shoppers have to go through.

Imagine what your shoppers have to go through. They have just decided what to have for lunch, chosen a Burgerville location, ordered a burger with all of the toppings, small fries, and a fountain soda. They pay, and the cashier hands them the receipt. Great right? Well not for those who already feel bombarded by unsolicited nutrition menu labeling and definitely didn’t want to know how many calories, grams of fat, protein and carbohydrates were in each of the items they ordered - a new feature on the chain’s receipts. But what about those customers who are watching their waistline? Can they adjust their order after realizing the tartar sauce alone adds 130 calories and 14 grams of fat?

SupermarketGuru.com supports menu labeling as well as suggesting healthier options, but certainly questions the after-the-fact shock patrons probably feel at the register. An online ordering system accessible from smart phones, iPads, etc. as well as self ordering kiosks in fast food restaurants where patrons can customize their orders while simultaneously viewing the nutrition facts of each item seems like a better tool for both ordering - long menu lists and numerous substitutions are often mixed up - and for education. 

Well, that’s not exactly the way the Nutricate “to nutritionally educate” (LINK TO: http://thesmartreceipt.com/products/nutricate) receipt system is used at the thirty nine Burgerville locations in the Pacific Northwest, the chain that focuses on fresh, local, and seasonal menu offerings. The Nutricate receipt system’s goal is to educate and is currently used in numerous hospitals and company cafeterias. Burgerville is the first fast food joint to roll out this type of nutrition fact transparency.

The receipt not only show the calories and grams of fat, protein and carbohydrates for the specific items purchased, but breaks down those values into the percentages that each item represents; based on both a 2,000-calorie- and a 2,500-calorie-per-day intake. In addition, the receipts include transaction-based targeted promotional messages and coupons, as well as healthy hints, alternate menu selections with lower calories or fat - ways to reduce these on the next visit.

Burgerville’s efforts are certainly commendable, but with the ability of mobile technologies to offer up this kind of information BEFORE someone places their order, we don’t see this system sticking around too much loner.