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What's missing from many food delivery apps that could cost you more calories

The FDA requires restaurants to have the calorie count on paper menus or boards, but that requirement hasn't transitioned to online food delivery apps.

GREENSBORO, N.C. — In many areas, gone are the days of paper takeout menus. Now ordering dinner is as easy as using an app on your smartphone. During the pandemic, it's how most of us "ate out".  While the restaurant setting was missing, so were the calorie counts!

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.

But 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. As online ordering and the use of third-party delivery apps have exploded during the pandemic, suddenly that calorie info isn’t as easy for consumers to find.

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

UBER:

“We’ve built Uber Eats to be as merchant-friendly as possible, which means that restaurants have control over their menu listings on the app, including photos, item descriptions, pricing, and adding any additional information—including calorie counts.”

DOORDASH:

“DoorDash is proud to connect consumers to local and national businesses in their communities. We work hard to enable customers to have access to the most up-to-date and accurate menu information, which is why we provide partners on our platform with the ability to enter and edit menu information directly, including nutritional information. We welcome the opportunity to engage with policymakers and stakeholders on this and other important issues impacting our industry.”

GRUBHUB:

“Our goal is to meet consumers where they are in lifestyle choices, including supporting the increasing number of people who are focused on eating healthy. We are actively working on innovative new ways to help consumers to make informed choices.” 

AVOIDING EXTRA CALORIES

Consumer Reports says placing a healthy takeout 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 another day!

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