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?
"I would eat out more if this information was available in restaurants." Consumer
"I like the idea that the restaurant cares enough to offer this information." Consumer
Approximately 70% of British Columbians are more likely to visit a restaurant that provides nutrition information.
Public Opinion Research 2014
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.
Who Supports Informed Dining
Restaurants Canada, 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 are proud to be part of a program that offers a framework to help customers make informed food choices when they are eating out,” said Mark von Schellwitz, vice-president, Western Canada, Restaurants Canada. “This is part of building a relationship with ourcustomers and providing the full nutrition information they crave.”
“Small business operators in BC appreciate the value this program brings to our customers,” said Ian Tostenson, president and CEO of BC Restaurant and Food Services Association. “British Columbians are demanding more information about their food choices and Informed Dining makes that information easily available.”
“One of the key goals of Heart and Stroke Foundation is to significantly reduce the risk factors for heart disease and stroke for Canadians,” said Gavin Arthur, vice-president, research and health promotion, Heart and Stroke Foundation (BC & Yukon). “Eating a well-balanced healthy diet is a key component of lowering these risk factors. There is a growing public demand for nutrition information when eating out and this is creating a real opportunity for restaurants, an opportunity they can seize by joining the Informed Dining program.”
Why do consumers want to know ‘what’s in their meal?’
“Sometimes wanting to eat healthy can prevent me from going out to eat. If I knew what meals were healthier for me and what was in my meal, I would choose to dine at that participating location over another.” Contest Entrant March 2014
“We all know what’s good and bad for us. If we see the calories, ingredients, and fat content, it’s easier to make better decisions.” Facebook Commenter
“We should know what we are putting in our bodies. It affects our health greatly and knowledge = smart decisions.” Contest Entrant March 2014
The British Columbia government in collaboration with Restaurants Canada, the BC Foodservices Association and the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada (BC & Yukon) developed the Informed Dining Program with the first restaurant participating in the spring of 2012.
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.
- Provide calories and the 13 core nutrients for all standard menu items upon request before or at the point of ordering. Calories and sodium content must be highlighted.
- Provide information regarding daily calorie and sodium requirements.
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
- Or other format approved by the Ministry of Health (MOH)
The Restaurant Participation Guide is a handy reference for restaurants interested in the Informed Dining program.
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.
Not sure if your recipes are accurate? The Recipe Standardization Module was created as an online learning tool to help educate small business operators on how to standardize their recipes. Click here for more information on the 10-step module.
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.
- Top Five Things You Need to Know About Informed Dining - Poster
- Informed Dining Staff Training Guide
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 do restaurants participate?
Complete and submit an Expression of Interest form to:
Ministry of Health
Informed Dining Program
PO BOX 9646
Stn Prov Govt
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.