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Consumers Speak Out!

While it’s true that restaurant menu labeling is controversial, one thing is for certain: business success always comes down to pleasing the customer. Consumers who don’t think labeling is important or useful will not change their purchasing behavior, regardless of whether the information is provided. However, according to a recent Technomic survey, 82 percent say that calorie disclosure is affecting what they order and 60 percent say it is affecting where they visit.

Here are some things that consumers have said:

"Many restaurants already voluntarily provide nutritional information about their offerings upon request or right on the menu, and those are the restaurants I give my business to."

"I watch my calorie count very carefully, and so do others for many different reasons (health related dietary restrictions, diabetes, etc.) so that information is very useful in making wise decisions and the cost to consumers is a lot less than the current sky high cost of health insurance and health care due to the epic obesity in this country."

-Reader comments on an article on restaurant menu labeling, The Leaf Chronicle, Clarksville/Fort Campbell, TN

"Demanding disclosure is a no-brainer; this should have been done years ago. The public has a right to know what is in the food they buy."

-Reader comment on an article on restaurant menu labeling, The Statesman Journal, Mid-Willamette Valley, Oregon

"In a 2007 survey for the Northwest Health Foundation, 69 percent of Oregonians said they want calorie counts on menus."

-Excerpt from an article on restaurant menu labeling, The Oregonian, Portland, Oregon

"Why would obtaining more information about what we are putting into our bodies ever be a bad thing? There will always be the gap between our actions and what we know is best for us. But having accurate information is a critical component in narrowing that gap."

"I'm a customer. If I buy a car I can check the specs. I will know gas mileage, horse power and safety features on any car I'm thinking of buying. Posting nutritional information gives me knowledge to make better choices."

-Reader comments on an editorial on restaurant menu labeling, Deseret News, Salt Lake City, UT

"Good idea...This should be a law already. If the body's a temple, we should know what we're putting in it."

"This legislation is definitely not going to make fat people skinny, but it might help people who are trying to cut down on their weight make more informed choices."

"To Mr. Matheson, thank you for addressing a serious health concern. To the naysayers, this legislation is an attempt to inform consumers. Is anyone going to slap that burger out of your hand? Of course not. Information does not force you to do anything."

"Thank to the gov for thinking of our health. Someone needs to! I'm glad about this-it will help me a lot. The people who don't care will continue to eat what they want. But for me, there are places I avoid because I cannot find health & nutrition info. I would eat at those places if I was able to to make a good decision about what to eat."

"My wife and I don't eat out often. But I think this a great legislation! We can still eat what we want, but now we'll know how much is going to stick around our waist! :)"

"A great idea, obesity is a overwhelming public health burden and we all pay the bill for this growing problem. Many people would order and eat better if they had the knowledge. I completely reject the idea that this interferes with our lives----it is absolutely in the public interest!!"

"This isn't a proposal to limit the food that a restaurant can serve. It's a proposal to inform the customer about what he's buying. You as the customer still have the same choices you had before; you just have a better idea of what those choices actually are."

"I used to think that this was an intrusion by government. Then our menu boards started showing the calorie counts. It is really quite stunning when you see it up there. My eating habits have changed dramatically since then. It was always available either in a handout or posted on the wall, but really - who bothers? Now that it is right up there with the dollar amount, there are a LOT of us that are re-thinking our choices."

"...reading the actual calorie content of some items can be really surprising…It's helpful for me."

"I am all in favor of this. I care about how many calories and how much fat I am taking in to my body. It would be nice to have this information available so I can make an intelligent decision when I eat out."

"What a great help for those of us who care about our health!"

"I think this is an example of what government can do. Give us the information that ENABLES us to make informed decisions rather than FORCING us to take some action. If we don't want the information, we can ignore it…. I am frustrated when I go to a restaurant that does not provide the information I need to keep on my diet."

"I welcome a sign or chart available upon request, that I can read to determine the best food choices."

-Reader comments on an article on restaurant menu labeling, Deseret News, Salt Lake City, UT

"People can't make rational decisions without having complete information. Restaurants know that people will order differently if the nutritional information is listed. It may be a hardship for businesses to fill different requirements in different markets, but that doesn't mean that the idea of providing the information is liberalism run amok. Providing full information to consumers is consistent with free market ideology."

-Reader comment on an article on restaurant menu labeling, The Tennessean, TN