Darden to Reduce Calorie, Sodium Footprint
Darden Restaurants, headquartered in Orlando and whose brands include Red Lobster, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse, today announced the most comprehensive health and wellness commitment in the restaurant industry to date. Darden has committed to reduce its calorie and sodium footprints and to provide greater choice and variety on its children’s menus.
The company was joined at an Olive Garden restaurant in Hyattsville, Maryland, by First Lady Michelle Obama and the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) to announce its commitment.
“As a leader in culinary innovation, we pride ourselves on making good food better, and on finding new ways to nourish and delight everyone we serve,” said Drew Madsen, President and Chief Operating Officer of Darden Restaurants. “Today we are taking a new step forward by creating a comprehensive health and wellness commitment, while preserving our commitment to offer our guests the delicious food they have come to know and love from their favorite Darden restaurants.”
The Darden initiative will reduce its calorie footprint by 10 percent over five years and a 20 percent reduction of calories over 10 years. The full-service restaurant company said it will look at reformulating, resizing and removing certain items, and introducing new calorie-conscious, flavorful choices.
The initiative will also focus efforts to reduce sodium in its offerings by 10 percent over the next five years and 20 percent over the next 10 years.
Darden said it plans to establish specific nutrition standards to guide the development its chilcren’s meals to simplify parents’ search for healthier options that their children enjoy, making fruits and vegetables the default side dish options.