Is there any evidence of a change in behaviour as a result of the Government's Responsibility Deal which puts calories on menus? Harvester has been tracking its customers' response over the last 6 months and throws us a morsel of movement in their eating habits.
I suppose it's not very long - 6 months - since Harvester introduced calorie labelling on its menu. So we shouldn't be amazed or disappointed that they have seen average calorie consumption decrease by around 25 calories per person - at least people have noticed. What dos that equate to? Around a 2% reduction in peoples average calorie consumption. Harvester say that this comes from a slight shift by customers from red meat dishes into white meat and fish, and changes in dessert choices.
Let's do some sums. If you multiply the 25 calories, by the roughly 25 million meals they serve each year, that's a lot of calories. And if you translate that into food, with a slice of bread being roughly around 25 kcal, then that's a lot of bread. To an individual man who needs 2500 calories a day that's 1/100th of the daily recommended intake.
It's easy to be baffled by the numbers and therefore be cynical about the affect this is having, but if you do more sums around the number of foodservice outlets participating in this Deal - and McDonalds have just last week put similar information on their in-store menus - then we are , however slowly, heading towards a calorie cutting and healthier nation. Well done Harvester!