Victorian fast food chains attacked for not providing enough nutritional information
The Cancer Council and the National Heart Foundation have released a report claiming Victorian fast food chains do not provide sufficient nutritional information.
In the “Investigation into kilojoule menu labelling in Victorian chain food outlets” report published last week, the two organisations said that only two in nine of the state’s major fast food chains supply enough nutritional information to allow consumers to make informed decisions.
The report found that only KFC and Boost Juice stores consistently labelled their food with nutritional information. Other outlets including Hungry Jack’s, Nando’s, Pizza Hut, Red Rooster and Doughnut King did not.
Head of Prevention at Cancer Council Victoria, Craig Sinclair, said some heavy detective work would be needed to find out the health details of some fast foods.
“In Victoria you need bionic eyesight and Sherlock Holmes’ detective skills to find out how many kilojoules are hidden in the burgers, donuts, pizzas and chips we’re consuming, “Sinclair said.
“Whereas, over the border in New South Wales, there are regulations that provide clear guidelines on how this information should be provided. This form of labelling together with an education campaign has been shown to be effective, with consumers choosing meals that are 15% lower in kilojoules than prior to the implementation of the system,” he said.
“The Victorian fast food outlets surveyed also operate in New South Wales where they are subject to this regulation; one wonders why the industry chooses to deny Victorians the same access to what should be basic nutrition information,” said Sinclair.
Cancer Council Victoria and the Heart Foundation surveyed the point of purchase kilojoule menu labelling practices at 59 fast food outlets, from nine fast food and snack chains across metropolitan and regional Victoria. The survey compared their labelling practices to the best practice guidelines implemented in New South Wales.
The report made the following findings:
- Only two of the nine (22%) chains, Boost Juice and KFC, consistently displayed kilojoule information. This was in line with the requirements in New South Wales, although all businesses surveyed had some kilojoule information in store.
- Almost half of the 59 outlets (46%) did not have kilojoule information on all items for sale.
- Almost one in five (19%) did not reference the average adult’s daily intake of kilojoules, as required in NSW, which allows customers to consider their choices in the context of their daily energy requirements.
- Less than half (47%) met the New South Wales standards for font, size and position of the kilojoule information.
- Less than three in four (73%) provided kilojoule information that was legible to consumers.
- All chains provided kilojoule information on their website.