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Eateries ready to serve food, not nutritional info just yet


July onwards, the pancake or French fries you order online or via Swiggy or Zomato will also come with a list of nutritional content, allergens, ingredient list and calorific value of the food.

The country’s apex food regulator, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), has asked food service establishments having a central (food) licence and those who run over 10 food outlets and have annual revenue of more than `20 crore, besides food aggregators Swiggy and Zomato, to furnish nutritional values and allergens on menus and all food items sold on their platforms.

The food aggregators are also required to upgrade platforms so that food operators can add information regarding the nutritional value of food sold by them.

But the industry is not really equipped to follow the order in totality, with most businesses feeling the exact and precise data might not be possible.

Pradeep Shetty, joint honourary secretary, Federation of Hotel and Restaurant Associations of India (FHRAI), said, “Our member hotels and restaurants will follow the order, but its implementation across all categories of food business operators will be difficult and burdensome as the Indian culinary spread is vast.

“We will still find the best way possible to implement it”.

Zorawar Kalra, managing director at Massive Restaurants which runs chains like Farzi Café, Masala Library, Made In Punjab, Pa Pa Ya and several other brands across cuisines, and also launched two cloud kitchen brands — Louis Burger and Butter Delivery in 2021 during the pandemic — said the move is in the best interest of the consumers as health is a very valid concern.

He, however, shared that there has to be proper infrastructure and resources made available for restaurants to be able to calculate these values.

“Currently there are very few options available as nutritionists and their respective labs are few and far between.

Moreover, some smaller kitchens will not be able to afford the costs related to this.

Perhaps, some form of subsidy and extra time to implement the order would be required to make this truly effective,” said Kalra.

However, this inclusion is already a feature for some restaurants, said Zomato.

The foodtech brand is upgrading its website and app to educate more restaurant partners who weren’t sharing this information.

“We have always believed in enabling the customer to make an informed choice so this perfectly aligns with our ideology.

“We already show nutritional and allergen status where a restaurant voluntarily shares the required information with us.

“After the FSSAI guidelines, we are upgrading our technology and working with restaurant partners who have now been mandated to enable customers to make an informed choice,” said a Zomato spokesperson.

Food delivery giant Swiggy, which recently acquired Dineout, did not respond to a query from FE.

“It is not only about nutrition value, but details help in increasing consumer trust in the product.

“E-commerce platforms must implement mandatory information on all products and conduct random audits. However, food apps still lack sufficient mandatory options such as a picture of the actual food product, food ingredients, and so on.

“It may be difficult to implement as many food merchants are not well-organised and lack the necessary tools and support to provide this information, but in the long run, it will benefit both consumers and merchants,” said Manjari Singh, co-founder, The Chhaunk, a Gurugram-based cloud kitchen startup that specialises in Bihari cuisine.

On the restaurant front, accuracy and correct labelling seem to be a challenge for operators as this might pose difficulty in logistics.

While this additional labelling will not change much as people are aware and know the difference between junk and healthy food when ordering, Vikesh Shah, founder, 99 Pancakes, a QSR chain, that specialises in pancakes, said, “It will be difficult to maintain accuracy.

“All food is handmade and not readymade or pre-packed with a machine.

“Recipes are bound to vary, so we are not sure how much it will help,” said Shah, who has over 45 outlets in 15 cities.

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