How Digital Menus and Calorie Labelling Can Help Food Businesses Save on Costs

From the 6th April 2022, certain businesses in England will have to display the calorie content of the food they sell as part of The Calorie Labelling (Out of Home Sector) (England) Regulations 2021. Many food operators are concerned that calorie labelling is simply another burden on their business. However, we believe that food businesses should start looking at digital menus and calorie labelling as an opportunity to strengthen their operation.

Research shows that businesses who provide calorie information have a competitive advantage, and can increase revenue by 3%. This is done through improving customer trust and minimising food waste. On top of this, studies show that displaying calories on menus gives smaller portions new appeal, which means that businesses can serve more with less. Displaying calorie information also lets consumers know you have their best interests at heart. 

Adapting to new calorie labelling legislation requires you to implement new systems and processes, and the easiest way to comply is through using dynamic digital menus and recipe management solutions. Digital menus can drive efficiency, increase revenue, improve customer experience and reduce costs. It is this final component that we will focus on in this blog.

5 ways in which digital menus and calorie labelling can directly reduce costs

As part of a recent calorie labelling business case, Nutritics analysed how a number of large, multi-site food businesses utilised their digital menu and recipe management solutions. Below are five ‘direct cost reduction’ use cases or ways in which food businesses were able to save on costs . 

1. Reduce print costs

Digital menus can be used to display calorie, allergen and other nutritional information. This replaces, or greatly reduces, the need to print physical menus for display. Replacing physical menus with digital ones allows you to save on both paper and ink costs, as well as the cost of any third party design work. 

As part of our business use case, our sample business saved up to £750 per location, per year. For a business with over 100 locations, this represents savings of over £75,000 per annum.  

2. Reduce waste

For food businesses, average food waste is estimated to be 2-3% of the annual food spend. This means that if a business is spending £2,000,000 on food ingredients and preparation, approximately £40,000 – £60,000 is lost to food waste.  

Through displaying calorie information on digital menus, food businesses are indirectly encouraged to reduce portion sizes and prepare meals based on the advised calorie intake per person. In other words, if you are displaying calorie content on your digital menus, it doesn’t make sense to load the plate with over-sized portions that go against national recommendations and could actively discourage customers from ordering your food. 

This results in reduced portion sizes, which means less food waste, a lower cost per plate and reduced costs on the management of food waste. In our business use case, our sample business was able to reduce food waste from 2% to 1%. Based on a £2,000,000 total food spend, this is a saving of £20,000 per year.

3. Reduce agency and consulting spend

Many food businesses display menu information on a static web page, which is often built and updated by a third-party web agency. With dynamic digital menus, web agencies are no longer needed. Digital menus can be created and adjusted internally. With automatic updates across all menus, there are no additional costs incurred in sharing information with digital display providers.

For activities related to digital menu updates, our sample business had an average agency spend of £25,000 per year. This cost was eliminated through the use of a  recipe menu management system. 

4. Reduce technology spend

Interactive digital menus, which are dynamic and updated in real time, allow customers to see all information regarding food sold at the premises. Thus, by integrating with menu management and publishing systems, food businesses replace the need for additional digital menu software.

For our sample business, this equated to annual savings of £100 per location in subscription costs. For a business with over 100 locations, this represents savings of over £10,000 per year. 

5. Avoid fines by complying with calorie labelling legislation  

Failure to comply with upcoming calorie labelling legislation can result in a £2,500 fine per incident. See below extract from The Calorie Labelling (Out of Home Sector) (England) Regulations 2021.

Any person who fails to comply with an improvement notice is guilty of an offence. Where satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that a person has committed an offence, the enforcement authority may impose a civil sanction under the Regulatory and Sanctions Act 2008 (RESA) of a fixed monetary penalty (FMP) of £2,500 as an alternative to criminal prosecution.” 

Digital menus play a huge role in helping food businesses to comply with new legislation and thus avoid such fines. 

Talk to one of our calorie labelling experts

Reducing costs is just one of the ways that integrating with digital menus and recipe management solutions can have a positive impact on your business. 

If you would like to know more about the other benefits, you can reach out to one of our calorie labelling experts at Nutritics. During a free consultation, we can also outline the key steps that you can take to adapt your business to new calorie labelling legislation.