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Nutritional labelling in restaurants : whose responsibility is it anyway?

Alexander, Matthew and O'Gorman, Kevin D. and Woods, Katie (2010) Nutritional labelling in restaurants : whose responsibility is it anyway? International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management, 22 (4). pp. 572-579. ISSN 0959-6119

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Abstract

To explore consumer attitudes towards the potential implementation of compulsory nutritional labelling on commercial restaurant menus in the UK. This research was approached from the perspective of the consumer with the intention of gaining an insight into personal attitudes towards nutritional labelling on commercial restaurant menus and three focus groups consisting of participants with distinctly differing approaches to eating outside the home were conducted. The research suggests that while some consumers might welcome the introduction of nutritional labelling it is context dependent and without an appropriate education the information provided may not be understood anyway. The issue of responsibility for public health is unresolved although some effort could be made to provide greater nutritional balance in menus. Following this research up with a quantitative investigation, the ideas presented could be verified with the opinions of a larger sample. For example, a study into the reactions to nutritionally labelled menus in various restaurant environments. Consumers would react differently to the information being presented in a fine-dining restaurant than they would in popular catering or fast food. The obstacles faced by restaurants to provide not only nutritional information, but attractive, nutritious food are significant. Prior to this research there were few, if any, studies into the effects of food labelling on consumer choice behaviour in the context of hospitality management.