retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Hill reports that new legislation introduced in the US Senate yesterday by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Missouri) and Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) "would exempt pizza delivery joints and grocery stores from upcoming federal rules requiring restaurants to post the number of calories in their food," rules that "store owners say would be nearly impossible to fulfill … For instance, there are 34 million different combinations of pizza toppings, according to an industry trade group. It’s impractical to require that they list all of the options, they say."

The story notes that "the Senate bill is a companion to legislation introduced in the House earlier this year. That bill was led by Reps. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) and Loretta Sanchez (D-Calif.), and has 50 co-sponsors."

Trade associations immediately endorsed the legislation.

• “We are encouraged by the bipartisan, bicameral support for FDA to follow a more practical approach to menu labeling," said Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Senior Vice President of Government and Public Affairs Jennifer Hatcher. "The Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act is consistent with an alternative proposal by FDA, as well as state and municipal menu labeling laws, to limit menu labeling to establishments that are primarily restaurants. By definition, and by almost all preceding food laws, grocery stores are not restaurants."

• "The scope of the nutrition labeling provision as proposed by Congress was to provide a uniform standard for chain restaurant menu labeling, not grocery stores," said Peter J. Larkin, President and CEO, NGA. "NGA applauds Senators Blunt and King for introducing this commonsense legislation, and we look forward to working with Congress to pass this key legislation and prevent such a large and costly regulatory burden from passing onto our members."

• "This legislation will allow the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) to satisfy Congress’ objectives without unnecessarily burdening most convenience stores,” said NACS Senior Vice President of Government Relations Lyle Beckwith. “It treats restaurants like restaurants and convenience stores like convenience stores.”
KC's View:
I get, and am sympathetic to, the arguments against holding certain kinds of retailers to the labeling requirements. But the bottom line for every retailer and manufacturer ought to be, regardless of legislation, how can we provide the maximum amount of information to our customer?

Because making information available and accessible is good business that engenders trust.