The Informed Dining program is a voluntary nutrition information program for restaurants developed by the Province of British Columbia. Participating restaurants provide their guests with nutrition information, that is easy to access and understand, for all standard menu items.
Why should a restaurant participate?
By participating in the Informed Dining program, your restaurant will be responding to the growing trend and interest in nutrition and will be seen as a leader in customer service by providing guests with nutrition information to help them make informed menu choices. In addition, your restaurant will be recognized through significant government promotions and advertising opportunities.
"I would eat out more if this information was available in restaurants".
"I like the idea that the restaurant cares enough to offer this information".
Who Supports Informed Dining
The Canadian Restaurant and Foodservices Association (CRFA), the BC Restaurant and Foodservices Association (BCRFA) and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada have provided valuable advice on the development of the Informed Dining program.
"We want to be part of the solution in making healthy choices easy choices in B.C. Our priority is a national nutrition disclosure framework and BC's Informed Dining program is an important first step. This program has the potential to help restaurant patrons become more conscious about what they are eating - it also shines a light on those establishments already providing menu nutrition content while encouraging other restaurants to follow suit."
Mark von Schellwitz, Vice-President CRFA Western Canada
"The development of this program is an important first, flexible step in helping restaurant customers to become more aware about what they are eating. Through this partnership, British Columbia's restaurant industry is helping to make valuable contributions toward a healthier society."
Ian Tostenson, President and CEO BCRFA
"Healthy eating is a critical element in living a long and healthy life and avoiding cardiovascular disease. The Informed Dining program takes a positive step forward in providing people with information they can use in making informed choices while dining out."
Mark Collison, Vice President, Research & Health Promotion
Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada
Who can apply?
Informed Dining is available to all restaurants across Canada that have a minimum of one outlet located in British Columbia.
What are the requirements to participate?
To participate in the Informed Dining program, restaurants are required to:
Display the program logo (shown below) and a directional statement on the menu or menu board advising guests that nutrition information is available.
Example Directional Statement
(Name of restaurant) is a proud participant of Informed Dining program that offers nutrition information to help you make informed choices. Please see our menu insert for more information.
- Provide calories and the 13 core nutrients
The 13 core nutrients and their units of measure include:
- Total Fat (g)
- Saturated Fat (g)
- Trans Fat (g)
- Cholesterol (mg)
- Sodium (mg)
- Carbohydrate (g)
- Dietary Fibre (g)
- Sugars (g)
- Protein (g)
- Vitamin A (%DV)
- Vitamin C (%DV)
- Calcium (%DV)
- Iron (% DV)
for all standard menu items upon request before or at the point of ordering. Calories and sodium content must be highlighted.
A standard menu item is a food or beverage item, or meal that is offered for sale for more than 60 days per calendar year.
- Provide information regarding daily calorie and sodium requirements.
Daily Calorie and Sodium Requirements
Healthy adults should aim for 1,500 to 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day. Children and seniors need less. Healthy adults should aim for 2,000 to 2,400 calories per day. Individual needs vary depending on age, activity level and gender. Source: Health Canada
How does a restaurant provide program information to their guests?
Restaurants provide their guests with nutrition information for all standard menu items before or at the point of ordering in the restaurant. Restaurants can choose from the following formats to display the program information:
- menu insert/appendix
- supplemental nutrition menu
- nutrition brochure or pamphlet
- Quick Response (QR) code/Nutrition calculator/electronic kiosk
(This option must be combined with one of the other formats)
A quick response (QR) code is a special barcode that when scanned by a smart phone instantly connects a user to a web page or other electronic data.
- Or other format approved by the Ministry of Health (MOH)
How does a restaurant determine the calorie and nutrient content of their menu items?
Restaurants may determine calorie and nutrient content of standard menu items using any reliable and verifiable nutrient analysis. It is the restaurant's responsibility to ensure that the nutrient values presented are accurate. There are different ways to generate these values including the use of validated analytical methods by in-house or accredited laboratories or calculation by using credible databases or software. For more information, please see the Guide for Nutrient Analysis.
What Resources are available to train my staff?
Downloadable resources are available to help food service staff understand the program and to assist guests in knowing where to get more information.
What mechanisms are in place for quality assurance?
Environmental Health Officers (EHOs) will verify program standards are being met in all participating restaurants in B.C. EHOs play an important role in ensuring a level playing field for all restaurants that receive program status, as well as raising awareness and educating restaurant operators about the program. Program staff at the Ministry of Health will provide support in troubleshooting any issues that arise during the monitoring.
How is the Informed Dining program different from the HealthCheck™ BC Dining Program?
The HealthCheck™ BC Dining Program helps consumers identify healthy menu choices that meet specific nutrient criteria as set out by the Heart and Stroke Foundation's registered dietitians. For more information, visit HealthCheck™.
How is the Informed Dining program different from the CRFA Nutrition Information Program?
The Informed Dining program builds upon CRFA's voluntary Nutrition Information Program which was launched in 2005. The Informed Dining program highlights calorie and sodium content of menu items and provides information regarding daily requirements for calories and sodium to help customers make informed choices. Nutrition information with the Informed Dining program is available before or at the point of ordering in the restaurant. For more information on CRFA's program, visit CRFA.
How do restaurants participate?
Complete and submit an Expression of Interest form to:
Mail: Ministry of Health, Chronic Disease, Injury Prevention & the Built Environment
4-2, 1515 Blanshard Street, 4th floor
Victoria, BC V8W 3C8
Attn: Informed Dining
Upon review of the Expression of Interest, a representative from the Ministry of Health will contact you within five business days to set up an appointment to discuss the program details further.
The information on the Healthy Eating pages of the Healthy Families BC website is intended for educational and informational purposes only. It is not intended to replace medical advice, diagnosis or treatment from a physician or other qualified healthcare professional.