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Subway to Add Calorie Information to All U.S. Menus

April 5, 2016, 7:14 PM UTC
Courtesy of Subway

Subway will update its menu boards to feature calorie details for all menu items, a change that comes as health experts have called on the industry to give consumers more information about the food they eat.

The world’s largest fast food restauranteur said customers will see the additional information on menus starting on April 11, an update that comes ahead of the Food and Drug Administration’s mandate that big restaurant chains include calories on menus. The menu labeling law was passed in 2010 as part of the Obama administration’s Affordable Care Act, though the deadline to comply was recently delayed to 2017.

“We want consumers to know the calorie value of our sandwiches and salads,” said Lanette Kovachi, global dietitian for Subway, in a statement.

Restaurant chains in recent years have weighed the benefits of adding calorie information to their menus, with some moving faster than others to make the change. And while the FDA says that posting calories on menus can help consumers make more informed and healthy dietary choices, numerous reports have speculated the information won’t drastically change behavior. Still, advocacy group National Restaurant Association has backed the legislation.

That isn’t to say the the industry backs all initiatives that relate to giving customers more information about what’s in their food. The National Restaurant Association late last year sued to stop a move by New York to add sodium warning labels to foods that had more than the daily recommended limit of salt.

For Subway, the menu change is the latest step the chain has taken to present a more nutritional image with consumers as more Americans express an interest in eating healthier foods. Recently, Subway generated news when it added its first antibiotics-free chicken sandwich to the chain’s menu. It has also added spinach and avocado to the company’s toppings offerings in recent years, and on the food sourcing front, recently vowed to only use cage-free eggs by 2025.

There is one potential snag to Subway’s plan. While it will include calorie information for the company’s menu items, the chain is popular because customers can customize their sandwiches. That means that the calorie information won’t always be applicable to the sandwiches that are being made fresh at the restaurant.