Why are these menu labeling changes happening?
Changes are on the horizon for food retailers, as Canadians embrace healthier lifestyles and make more concerted efforts to manage their diets responsibly. At the beginning of next year, new changes to how retail menus are displayed in-store will provide customers with more information than ever before. What follows is an excerpt from a Ministry of Health press release regarding amendments to the Healthy Menu Choices Act, 2015:
Following extensive consultation, Ontario is proposing various improvements to clarify its menu labeling regulation.
The regulation for menu labeling, which is made under the Healthy Menu Choices Act, 2015, will come into force on January 1, 2017 and will help Ontarians make healthier food and beverage choices when dining or ordering out. It will also help to raise public awareness about the calorie content of food and beverages eaten outside the home.
Owners and operators of food service premises that are part of a chain with 20 or more locations in Ontario will be required to display calorie information for every standard food and beverage item on their menus, and on display tags/labels or signs where standard food items are put on display or are self-serve. They will also be required to post a contextual statement regarding average daily calorie requirements to help consumers put the calorie information into context.
Why is the OCSA so involved with these changes?
In the above release, the OCSA was the only business organization quoted supporting a healthier Ontario. We see continued value in adopting the policy decisions from the public health perspective despite decisions that may affect some retailers through policy change.
As you can see Omar Khan (Chief of Staff for Dr. Hoskins) made a point to thank us through our agency Sussex. As well we received thanks from Ministry of Finance. We continue to build goodwill within the Liberal government as we work on various issues affecting the channel.
What do these changes mean for convenience stores?
The Ministry of Health has provided a valuable resource for convenience store managers with questions about the new menu labeling changes. This Convenience Sector Fact Sheet provide answers to many question that individuals may have about the new policies heading forward, including what convenience stores will be affected and what food items will qualify for the regulations.