Count me in

Are you in the catering business? Would you like to provide your customers with clear calorie information on your menus? A number of caterers have contacted safefood to ask how they can find out the calorie content of their dishes/recipes.

Count Me In logo of coffee and muffinThere are a number of options that you can select as a caterer:

  1. Get a dietitian or nutritionist to carry out the analysis for you at the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute (ROI) or Freelance Dieticians or the Association for Nutritionists
  2. Estimate the calorie content directly by using standardised nutrition information tables called Mc Cance and Widdowson’s The Composition of Foods - this is free of charge
  3. Purchase software that can do the calculations for you – there are a number of software options available to purchase on the Internet. Make sure these are based on McCance and Widdowson’s Composition of Foods 
  4. Get the calorie content measured in a laboratory - this is an expensive option and could be considered if information on the food/dish isn’t available through the other options. The only laboratory on the island of Ireland currently offering this service to small businesses is the Agri Food and Biosciences Institute in Belfast. 

Notes

  1. McCance and Widdowson’s The Composition of Foods integrated dataset is based on foods/dishes that we consume in the UK and Ireland. Many databases and software packages are based on US foods that are very different in composition to that consumed in this part of the world. 
  2. Caterers are often concerned that no two portions of the same recipe are going to contain the exact same amount of each ingredient. Measure the ingredients on 3-4 occasions and then take the average.