Sandwich giant Subway is the latest in the line of quick service restaurants (QSR) to introduce kilojoule information on its menus.
The company today told Food Magazine it would be introducing information necessary for customers to make an informed choices from Monday 21 November.
Subway stores across Australia will display the nutrition content on their menus, following in the footsteps of McDonald’s and other QSR outlets that are getting on board with the new obsession with health, as we as a nation continue to get fatter.
When McDonald’s made the decision to display the information in September, the Australian Food and Grocery Council (AFGC) expressed its “disappointment” that the burger giant had not waited until a national scheme was rolled out.
The AFGC QSR Forum, which represents the majority of QSR companies in Australia is in the preparation stage with a national menu board labelling system to provide energy information and healthy choice options.
Fast food outlets usually get the blame for the current rates of obesity and associated conditions and outcomes, which are on the rise in Australia and everything from a fat tax to a ban on using cartoons to advertise the food products to children being suggested.
But in the last year, they have been attempting to change the perception, with KFC deciding to ban toys with kids meals to overcome pester power, and Hungry Jack’s introducing optional vegetable sides with its burgers.
While McDonald’s and Hungry Jack’s decided not to join KFC in banning toys in kids meals, it did announce this week it will be offering more salads and healthier alternatives, more often.
Last week Bio-technology food ingredient specialist Holista announced an exclusive two year deal with Quick Service Restaurants Holdings (QSRH) that involves three patents and covers a potato chip which absorbs less fat during frying, a low sodium salt and a low GI bread for longer lasting energy.
QSRH has over 6000 restaurants throughout Australia, including Red Rooster, Oporto and Chicken Treat, making it one of the biggest in the country.
Exercise Physiologist and Nutritionist, Kathleen Alleaume has welcomed the latest move from Subway, saying it is a step towards better understanding of health and nutrition.
“Subway restaurants’ menu labelling is a positive initiative towards addressing the issue of overweight Australians and obesity,” she said.
“Often people underestimate the kilojoule content of their menu selection, so clear, easy-to-use nutrition information will help people make healthier selections.”
All standard Subway 6-Inch subs (prepared on white or wheat bread) contain fewer than 2000 kilojoules; less than a quarter of the daily requirement of an average Australian adult and nine Subway 6-Inch subs on the menu contain 6 grams of fat or less.
Subway said it is continually analysing their products to find ways to improve sodium, sugar and taste and is working closely with the Australian Division on Action on Salt (AWASH) to reduce the amount of sodium across its menu offerings.
Recent changes include sodium reduction in 10 key ingredients and when compared to 2009 levels, four bread varieties now have 10 per cent less sodium and chicken strips, which are used in popular subs like Chicken Teriyaki, have had a 30 per cent reduction in sodium.
Professor Bruce Neal, Senior Director at the George Institute and Australian Division of World Action on Salt and Health (AWASH) Chairman believes the new focus on sodium content and the impact on health is a positive step forward.
“Food companies have an important role to play in ensuring their products are healthy and that customers have the right information to make informed choices,” he said.
“It is good to see companies like Subway making progress on reducing salt in its products and introducing kilojoule labeling on menus so that people have a clearer idea about what they are eating.”