95% of consumers would like calorie labelling on menus: FSAI

Chef Catherine Fulvio with Dr Pamela Byrne, CEO, FSAI. (Photo Chris Bellew /Fennell Photography)

FSAI launches new drive to encourage more businesses to use its free online tool, MenuCal



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21 October 2016

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The Food Safety Authority of Ireland (FSAI) has reiterated its call to all 22,000 food service businesses in Ireland to avail of its free online tool, MenuCal to assist in identifying 14 categories of allergens and calculating calories within their dishes.

Research from the FSAI found that 95% of consumers would like calorie labelling on menus in all or some food outlets.  As well as helping to cut the costs associated with calorie display, MenuCal was further enhanced to help businesses comply with their legal obligation to display allergen information on foods.

According to Dr Pamela Byrne, CEO, FSAI, MenuCal was designed by chefs for chefs and 80% of chefs who have used it stating that they found it easy to use and said they would use it again.

Celebrity chef and author, Catherine Fulvio helped launch a new initiative with the FSAI this week to encourage food businesses across the country to avail of MenuCal.  The new initiative will see food businesses, owners and chefs reached through a digital campaign across social media channels, sharing insights and reasons for using the free online resource.

Fulvio described herself as “a big fan of MenuCal” as it “removes the need to keep excel spreadsheets that you need to manually input or amend ingredients. Once the ingredients are in, it’s very easy to modify your recipes.”

Dr Mary Flynn, chief specialist, Public Health Nutrition, FSAI, said that with “a quarter of daily calories are consumed through meals and snacks eaten out,” displaying calories on menus, is “a growing trend especially among the young”.

“Three in every 100 people in Ireland have a food allergy and have to be very careful when eating out to avoid becoming ill,” Dr Flynn added.

MenuCal is considered a first of its kind in Europe and the software has already been sold to the Food Standards Agency Northern Ireland and Food Standards Scotland. It is available free of charge on www.menucal.ie



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