The National Restaurant Association (NRA) applauded the federal government’s new food icon, MyPlate, which is designed as a guide to help Americans make healthful food choices.
“The National Restaurant Association applauds the work to create an icon that gives consumers a clearer idea of how to think of their everyday meal options. The industry will continue to play an active role in helping to create an environment that addresses today’s healthy living challenges,” says Scott DeFife, executive vice president of policy and government affairs for the NRA. “Much like the upcoming national menu labeling standard, the new food icon will be a useful resource to help inform all Americans’ food choices.”
DeFife represented the NRA at the MyPlate unveiling at USDA featuring First Lady Michelle Obama and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
Research from the International Food Information Council Foundation shows that consumers want to know what to eat rather than what not to eat, and they want more healthful menu items. According to the association's 2010 Household Survey, nearly three-quarters of adults say they try to eat healthier when dining out than they did two years ago. Restaurant operators confirm that trend, with a majority saying their customers order more healthful menu items than they did two years ago.
In addition, among the top five trends highlighted in the association’s 2011 “What's Hot” chef survey were nutritionally balanced children’s dishes. Two-thirds of U.S. quick-service operators offer more healthful choices for children than they did two years ago. In the full-service segment, about half of family-dining operators in the U.S. report offering more healthful choices for children than they did two years ago.
The NRA is committed to taking a proactive role in helping the industry deal with issues related to food and healthy living and has established key partnerships to address today’s healthy living challenges:
•The association has partnered with the Culinary Institute of America to present “Healthy Flavors, Healthy Kids,” a national initiative to improve the health of children and young people through food education, culinary strategy, and flavor insight. The May 2011 summit included a discussion on the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans and how to motivate consumers to choose healthful options.
•The association has worked closely with the Let’s Move campaign’s Chefs Move to School programs, as well as other initiatives to improve childhood health and nutrition.
•The association is a participating member of the Dietary Guidelines Alliance, which conducted research with parents in order to help provide positive and simple messages to enable American consumers to achieve active, healthy lifestyles consistent with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines.
•The association helps consumers locate healthful menu options through its partnership with HealthyDiningFinder.com
, a nationwide search engine which provides nutrition information to consumers across the country.
•The association works with the Produce Marketing Association and the International Foodservice Distributors Association on the Foodservice 2020 Initiative, an effort to double the amount of produce used in foodservice within ten years.