Customers who visit Wegmans Food Market in Midlothian and Short Pump to pick up a made-to-order or prepared item such as a muffin or a sandwich at the Sub Shop will begin to notice updated calorie information on labels and menu boards around the store. In 2010, the Food and Drug Administration advised chain restaurants and similar retail food establishments that by May 5t 2017, they would be required to post calorie information where customers could easily see it. At Wegmans, some of that information is already available.
“Our company has always believed that customers have a right to product information and this FDA regulation is in keeping with steps we’ve already taken at our own initiative,” said Wegmans Nutrition and Product Labeling Manager Jane Andrews, MS RDN. “We want to give customers tools they can use to make informed decisions about what they’ll eat and what’s the right portion size for them personally.”
As Wegmans works toward full compliance with the new FDA regulation, customers may notice calorie counts in many places around the store: on menu boards in the Pizza Shop, Sub Shop or The Buzz coffee bar (by May 5); on signs near self-serve hot and cold food bars; on signs in the Bakery near bulk items like muffins, bagels or donuts (by May 5); on package labels for grab-and-go fresh items such as sushi, salads, soups and sandwiches.
“We’re finding that calorie information can be a conversation starter helping people to become more aware,” Andrews says. “A customer may notice, for example, that the meatball sub has more calories than a turkey sub, and use that knowledge to inform their choice of side. Or a customer may want something from the Bakery to go along with the coffee she’s ordering, and use the calorie information to help her decide whether to have a mini-scone, a muffin, or bagel.
Americans eat and drink about one-third of their daily calories away from home, Andrews says, and restaurant meals have, on average, more calories than meals made at home.
“Just knowing the calorie count for something you’re thinking about eating or drinking can help you decide how much you want to eat at this meal or at this time – and that’s a good step in a nation where two out of three adults are above their healthiest weights,” said Andrews.