Why there's no excuse for QSRs to ignore nutrition

By Sarah Patterson

For over a decade now nutrition has been a growing consideration for QSR’s. But, for an industry where taste and value have traditionally dominated what does nutrition really mean?

What is nutrition in QSR?
Currently, nutrition initiatives in QSR tend to focus on three areas:
1. Providing nutrition information to inform customer decisions
2. Offering choice by providing or customising menu items to meet different nutrition requirements (e.g. removing cheese from a sandwich to reduce fat)
3. Using whole foods to get the inherent nutrition benefits of core foods like lean meat, vegetables, fruit, grains and dairy

Why consider nutrition?
With 63% of Australian adult’s overweight or obese and a growing number of meals eaten outside of the home the nutrition content of QSR menus is an increasing focus of customers, advocacy groups and legislators.

As a result of the 2009 National Preventative Health Taskforce and the Federal Government’s independent review of food labelling law and policy we’ve seen a number of changes impacting how food is produced, sold and promoted.

On the legislation front there have been two major changes:
1. Kilojoule labelling regulations were introduced in NSW, ACT and SA requiring business with 50 stores nationally (or 7 – 20 state-wide, dependent on state) to display the kilojoule content of standard menu items on menu boards.
2. Nutrition, Health and related claims standard became law in January. The standard regulates claims about the nutritional content of food or the relationship between food and health as well as the use of endorsements. While allowing a broader range of health claims, the new standard increases the prerequisites for making claims.

Outside of the legislative arena the Food and Health Dialogue, a government-industry-public health initiative aimed at developing a voluntary reformulation program, has formed an industry round-table group for QSR. While reducing sodium is the current focus if the Food and Health Dialogue, saturated fat, added sugar and portion size as well as increasing fibre, wholegrain, fruit and vegetable content are also on the agenda.

Advocacy groups have called for further action on these initiatives supporting recommendations to include additional nutrients or even a traffic light style system on menu boards as well as calling for mandatory reformulation targets if the voluntary targets are not successful.

On the consumer front, a recent Australian survey showed 17% of people are paying more attention to the nutrition of food selected in restaurants supporting other previous studies showing 60% of consumers concerned about the healthiness of fast food. In line with this; findings from the US saw increased performance in same store sales growth and customer traffic in restaurants that increased their lower-calorie servings.

Five steps to address nutrition
In this environment it is likely the focus on nutrition will only grow. The five steps below are designed to ensure brands are addressing nutrition and able to respond.

1. Provide accessible nutrition information
2. Offer true choice by catering to different nutrition requirements
3. Understand your nutrition footprint.
Where do you sit compared with key brand and market nutrition indicators?
4. Determine your desired nutrition position
What do you want your brand to say about nutrition?
5. Align menu, product development, marketing and communications with your nutrition positioning

Join QSR Media Australia community
Since you're here...

...there are many ways you can work with us to advertise your company and connect to your customers. Our team can help you dight and create an advertising campaign, in print and digital, on this website and in print magazine.

We can also organize a real life or digital event for you and find thought leader speakers as well as industry leaders, who could be your potential partners, to join the event. We also run some awards programmes which give you an opportunity to be recognized for your achievements during the year and you can join this as a participant or a sponsor.

Let us help you drive your business forward with a good partnership!

The chain is also giving one couple the chance to win free catering.
The Mexican QSR recently embarked on a hiring spree across the country.
The promotion is available across the chain’s 41 stores.
This unit guarantees food quality without increasing operational expenses.
Controlling food costs, lessening waste, and forecasting demand accurately are crucial.
It partnered with Sydney illustrator Julie Luu to feature festive art across store signages and the brand’s 2022 Christmas Calendar.
One applicant will also have the chance to win a year’s worth of free pizza and a Nintendo Switch.
Find out how the upgraded digital menu signages improved the brand's operational and cost efficiencies.
The fast food chain has 54 restaurants across SA and 449 nationally.