Time to put kilojoules on the menu in Victoria

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The Heart Foundation is calling on the Victorian Government to catch up to other states by putting kilojoules on the menu in fast food chains.

The Queensland Government yesterday joined New South Wales, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory in introducing legislation to ensure fast food chains display the kilojoule content of their food and drinks.

Heart Foundation Victoria CEO, Diana Heggie, said it’s time for Victoria to follow suit and help those battling the bulge to make healthier choices when eating out.

“Victorians are eating out more than ever but most people wouldn’t know that a basic combo meal at a fast food outlet contains more than half of a person's daily kilojoule requirements," Ms Heggie said. 

“If menu boards showed the kilojoule content of takeaway foods, it would encourage people to make healthier choices.”

According to an evaluation of menu labelling in NSW, consumers were, on average, choosing items that were 519 kilojoules lower than the choice they had originally intended on purchasing.

“For those watching their waistline, 519 fewer kilojoules twice a week can lead to a 1kg loss of weight in just over half a year,” Ms Heggie said.

"If we're serious about helping people make healthier choices, it’s time to get nutrition information on menus and run a consumer education campaign about what it means.

“It has been more than five years since the previous Labor Government announced Victoria would be the first Australian jurisdiction to introduce menu labelling, yet we are still waiting.

“Food choices play a big role in how much weight a person carries and research shows consumers want to see kilojoule information on menus.”

Ms Heggie said more than 61 per cent of adults in Victoria are classified as overweight or obese, putting them at greater risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease.

“Labelling on menus is just one part of the solution to our overweight and obesity problem, but it’s an important step and we know that it works.”

The kilojoule menu labelling legislation would apply to major fast food chains and to coffee, bakery and snack food chains with more than 20 outlets in the state or over 50 stores across the country. 

Media contact: Sarah Terry, Media and Communications Advisor, 0423 827 697

Additional information:

  • Australians spend 31% of their weekly food budget on eating out.
  • Around 4.5 million Australians visit a fast food outlet each day.
  • Menu kilojoule labelling is supported by the Victorian Chronic Disease Prevention Alliance which includes Heart Foundation Victoria, Cancer Council Victoria, Diabetes Australia – Vic, National Stroke Foundation, Kidney Health Australia and Networking Health Victoria.

(I) Heart Foundation, The need for nutrition labelling: Rapid review of the evidence, 2010

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