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Pamela Bond's Blog

Why serve up calorie counts for deli items?

Calorie counts are already prominently displayed for dishes served in New York chain restaurants. Across the nation by end of next year, chains with 20-plus locations will have to follow suit as part of the health-care overhaul.

Could your deli be next?

I buy lunch at my natural grocers’ deli more and more frequently these days as I try to make more time for family and fun, and I spend less time making sack lunches to bring to work. As I peruse the deli case each noontime, I scrutinize ingredients, which are on display, but I don’t often ask for calorie counts, which aren’t. As it turns out, I’m not so calorie conscious.

What am I? Sugar conscious, refined-flour conscious, trans-fat conscious, pesticide conscious, carbon-footprint conscious, artificial-anything conscious, meat conscious ... bear with me, almost done ... portion conscious and, of course, taste conscious. (What does the rest matter if the dish doesn’t taste great?)

But many consumers count calories. Low calorie ranked fifth among claims people look for on food labels, according to a study of 4,900 consumers (90 percent female) conducted by NFM’s sister publication, Delicious Living, and iVillage. The four claims that ranked higher than low calorie were high fiber, reduced fat or fat free, low sodium and heart healthy—in that order.

Do you provide calorie counts for your deli items? Considering many consumers seek out that information on product labels, perhaps it's an investment that would pay off in customer satisfaction and return sales.

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