When the government of Ontario passed a new legislation – the Ontario Healthy Menu Choices Act – in 2015 and announced that it would take effect on January 1, 2017, it sent restaurants into a frenzy.
After all, in an industry where profit margins are already not very high, how could a restaurant now afford this extra cost? For most, the available options were to hire a nutritionist every time they made changes to their menu, or send the food to a lab, which not only has a high price point, but can take up to three weeks to receive results.
Enter CDN Channel Elite Award nominee MenuSano, a Toronto-based developer of calorie-counting software that helps restaurants get the nutrition information they require, at a price point they can afford, while providing their patrons with accurate information.
The benefits run both ways: for restaurant owners, the tool provides the flexibility to experiment with ingredients and develop their own analysis. Patrons, meanwhile, benefit from restaurants providing accurate nutrition information, allowing them to make better decisions.
The company – like the restaurant industry itself – is hardly against Ontario’s new regulations. Weight-related diseases are estimated to cost Canada’s health care system between $4 billion and $7 billion per year, and given that more than 40 per cent of Canadians today classify themselves as overweight or obese, the tracking and display of caloric information is a positive step in the right direction.
Nor are calories themselves necessarily bad – much depends on the ingredients used. A dish can have a higher caloric content yet be highly nutritious.
Regardless, few chefs plan their meals with detailed knowledge about the nutritional or caloric values of each ingredient to begin with – their chief concern is usually taste. However, MenuSano knows that when putting a recipe together, every ingredient used, not to mention the cooking method, will affect the final nutritional information of that dish.
For the company’s many customers, MenuSano’s software provides both restaurants and their chefs the clarity and nutrition information they need.