Health Ministry ‘confident’ calorie labelling law effective

New program expected to succeed in changing consumer behaviour

A Toronto resident checks out Swiss Chalet’s updated menu. (Zack Bodenstein/Toronto Observer)

The Ontario Ministry of Health believes its law mandating food chains with at least 20 different locations to label the calorie intake on products is beneficial for consumers.

The law’s activity officially reached two weeks on Saturday with the Ministry positive it will make a big difference.

Media spokesperson David Jensen said the Ministry’s members are certain that it will succeed.

“Calories displayed on menus will provide customers with information to help them make more informed choices when dining out,” he said. 

The ministry’s assurance comes from  studies showing that, when displaying calorie information, including a contextual statement that explains daily intake requirements, consumers’ use of the information increases, he said.

Evidence also suggests menu labelling may encourage restaurants to reformulate existing menu items and create healthier options.”

Toronto residents confident too

Corey Kales, a student studying health and fitness at George Brown College and co-founder of a fitness program, was confident in the law as well.

“It will empower the people who are already open to adopt healthier lifestyle choices,” he said.

“Most people simply don’t know the calorie content of most foods,” Kales said. “The more people get used to the calorie content in different foods means they can actually choose to make smarter dietary choices.”

Despite the ministry’s optimism, the program has not generated much acknowledgment since the law was passed on Jan. 1.

“We haven’t gotten any feedback from customers, whether good or bad,” said Paige, manager at Swiss Chalet on Overlea Boulevard in East York. “There wasn’t much of a reaction from our end, either.”