The average Australian household spends 28% of its food budget on fast food and eating out, and the average fast food meal provides almost half of an adult’s daily energy requirements. Research shows that eating fast foods regularly can lead to weight gain. Fast foods are increasingly impacting on Australians’ diets, and ultimately their health.
Cancer Council NSW has been advocating for several years for stronger regulation in both fast food marketing and menu labelling. Investigating different aspects of fast food allows us to recommend ways that the fast food environment can be improved to promote health. Cancer Council NSW conducted three research studies on fast food to further investigate the fast food environment. This report provides an overview of these studies.
Cancer Council NSW calls on the Federal Government and the fast food industry to step up and implement initiatives that make it easier for customers to make healthier fast food choices. Specifically:
1. The Federal Government should introduce mandatory menu labelling in-store in fast food chains, nationwide.
2. In the absence of nationwide mandatory menu labelling, the fast food industry should ensure that complete nutrition information is always available in-store.
3. Fast food chains should ensure that staff receive training on the provision of nutrition information to customers.
4. The fast food industry should reformulate their menu items to reduce the amount of energy, saturated fat, sugar and sodium.
5. The QSRI Initiative’s nutrient criteria should be revised to ensure that children’s fast food meals do not exceed 30% of children’s daily needs.
6. The Food and Health Dialogue should set targets for voluntary reformulation of fast foods, and move towards mandatory reductions.
7. The fast food industry should promote their healthier menu items in preference to their unhealthy menu items.
Download the Fast food: exposing the truth report