Panera Bread’s decision to list calorie information beside items on its menu boards creates advantages to both the company and consumers. According to Linn Parrish, vice president of public relations for Panera, the decision to add calorie information originated from a 2008 mandate in New York City. By expanding the original decree beyond New York City, Panera sets an example of transparency by willingly sharing calorie information with its customers without them having to look up the information online. Posting calorie information gives consumers the opportunity to choose the healthier option with less of a hassle.
However, even though providing immediate calorie information is commendable on the restaurant’s part, it’s up to the consumers to take that extra step toward a healthy lifestyle.
Simply choosing the menu item with the smallest calorie count isn’t going to cut it. Other restaurants may not provide instant health information, and it’s important that people look at the numbers and understand what each piece of information means and how that affects their health. In other words, people shouldn’t only eat healthy when the calories are there to provide guilt-induced eating habits. It should be a habit applied to all foods and meals.
Eating healthy should be a priority in a country where the stereotype is the image of an overweight American eating something fried and greasy.