Consumer Report: Takeout apps may not include nutrition facts, hindering heathy decision-making

Consumer Reports

CONSUMER REPORTS — In many ways, gone are the days of paper takeout menus. Now ordering dinner is as easy as using an app on your smartphone. When you’re busy and hungry, the results can sometimes mean an unhealthy meal if you order takeout.

Nutrition and calorie info can make choosing healthy options easier. The Food and Drug Administration requires restaurants with 20 or more locations to post calorie counts for standard items on menus, both in the restaurant and online.

However, that same nutritional information doesn’t always get transferred from the chain’s website to the menus on third-party delivery service sites, like DoorDash, UberEats and Grubhub.

“The FDA’s menu rule helps consumers to make more nutritious choices when eating out, but as online ordering and the use of third party delivery apps exploded during the pandemic, suddenly that info isn’t as easy for consumers to find.” said Catherine Roberts of Consumer Reports.

Uber and Doordash both told CR they give restaurants control over their menu and nutrition information on their respective apps. Grubhub says it is actively working on innovative new ways to help consumers to make informed choices.

Consumer Reports Nutritionist, Amy Keating, says placing a healthy take-out order is possible even when calorie counts aren’t available.

“Skip drinks like soda that add extra calories and no nutrition and seek out the items that feature vegetables, whole grains, or beans. And because restaurant portions are often oversized, plan to share with a family member, or pack up half to eat on another day,” said Keating.

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