MenuCal is a free, web-based calorie calculator and allergen management tool which aims to support small and medium food business operators (FBOs) to provide calorie and allergen information on their menus. MenuCal can be accessed on the FSS website: https://menucal.fss.scot.
In late 2016, FSS commissioned Kantar TNS to evaluate a pilot of MenuCal conducted in partnership with the Scottish Enforcement Liaison Committee (SFELC) Diet, Nutrition and Health Working Group, in 22 FBOs across 6 local authorities (LAs).
The aims were:
- To test the usability of MenuCal
- To identify if MenuCal supports FBOs to provide allergen and calorie labelling
- To investigate any impact of allergen and calorie labelling on the FBOs and their consumers
- To assess delivery of MenuCal and associated resources by Local Authorities (LAs).
The pilot identified a number of areas of improvement for the MenuCal tool, which FSS will take forward. MenuCal was found to support some FBOs to identify allergens and calculate calories and motivated some FBOs to modify some of their menu items to reduce the calorie content. Twelve of the 14 FBOs that completed the telephone interview said that they would recommend MenuCal to others for allergen and calorie labelling.
The pilot indicated that the delivery of MenuCal to the FBOs via the food enforcement officers within the local authorities was effective; although the pilot has highlighted that available LA resource for future delivery would need to be taken into consideration.