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Dilemma: Giving nutritional info?

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

Quick facts:

 

I belong to a delivery collective of professional chefs.  I regularly offer cake and other desserts that people order online.  There is a service that takes care of the online marketplace aspect as well as delivery, all I have to do is post a "meal" and drop it off at the delivery hub - they take care of the rest.  I am an independent contractor with this service.

 

I just got an email from the owners that starting next week they want to give clients the nutritional information of every meal  So, along with posting something for sale I have to input my ingredients so the system can estimate the nutritional information.  I see this as a great idea in concept and very easy for savory chefs to do, I mean, it would be very easy to add "steak, 6oz".  But I have much greater concerns...  if I want to post, say, a piece of cake, I will have to input my entire recipe.  I am having major problems with that.  I mean, that's my business.  Every one of my recipes are MINE and I have big plans with them.  I am not OK with adding them into a database of a 3rd party.  Or should I be?

 

I have emailed them and told them they need to make an exception for me and am still waiting to hear what they say, but what would you do?  I also have huge reservations about some random calorie calculator - I think they are inaccurate.

 

Thoughts?

post #2 of 29

If they are ok with you providing the nutritional information separately (calculated by you), there is a really good nutritional calculator available on sparkrecipes.com.  You input all your ingredients and quantities and come out with a total (broken down by serving if you choose).  If you dont save your recipe after, it will never be saved to a database.

 

I've used it quite a bit for non-cake stuff and found it to be pretty accurate.

post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 

That's not an option.  That hasn't been coded into their website, only a dropdown menu to add ingredients and quantities for it to calculate for you.  

post #4 of 29
What does your contract with the delivery service say in terms of what the service can do with the components of your recipe and whether or not the recipe is even stored after the nutritional info is calculated?

If you aren't comfortable with the terms, you could look at other third-party tools (such as nutritiondata.com) and provide your own nutritional info instead of having them calculate it. This also has the advantage of division of labor in that you would be submitting an anonymous recipe to a third-party tool (which probably gets thousands of submissions daily) that is completely separate from the delivery service. Of course you would have to work with them to provide this option as an alternative to the built-in calculator.

Yet another alternative is to have the delivery service provide a level of abstraction by using generic recipes for cake components to estimate nutritional info. For example, instead of submitting your own recipe you could enter "scratch vanilla cake, X grams" and "scratch chocolate frosting, X grams" (once those components are built in the system) with the assumption that the nutritional info won't change too much with different recipes.
post #5 of 29
Thread Starter 

I have no contract with them, it's an at-will marketplace with no written agreement.  I post when I want, or not post if I don't want to.

 

I have asked if I can just calculate it on my own and give them the number, still waiting to hear.  As of right now that is not an option on the website, they only have a drop-down to add ingredients and quantities in ounces.  

post #6 of 29

I hope that other chefs have the same concern as you and that it prompts the owners to make some sort of change!

post #7 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF View Post

I have no contract with them, it's an at-will marketplace with no written agreement.  I post when I want, or not post if I don't want to.

There must be terms of service somewhere on the web site that dictate what they are responsible for, what you are responsible for, what happens if something goes wrong, etc. If there are no formal terms like this I would advise against participating at all.
post #8 of 29

IMO, you should have the option of providing the nutritional info without having to turnover your recipes,  Did you ask if you can provide it yourself?  

My other thought is dessert and nutritional info is a bit of a oxymoron especially because of all the butter, sugar and good chocolate we use.  I would think this could be counter productive with sales,

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I love what I do and do what I love

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post #9 of 29
Thread Starter 

Jeanie, FOR SURE I'm nervous about that - I mean, I have no doubt that sales will suffer when people see "gutbomb chocolate cake, 2500 kCals".  LOL  I'll cross that bridge when I get to it, I just wanted to see some other perspectives as far as essentially turning over my recipes to use this service because they think it should be no big deal.  I am the only real pastry chef that works with them, they have savory chefs that post dessert but they do things like french toast or they will buy premade puff pastry at Restaurant Depot then fill it with canned apple pie filling.  The other chefs also don't have separate businesses.  I can't imagine anyone is raising a stink over this except me.  

 

I just got an email that I can calculate the info myself and give it to them.  So I guess I won that battle!  But I'm not crazy here, right?  Would all of you raise a slight stink over this also?

post #10 of 29

I would.  You have spent a great deal of time and resources to perfect your recipes.  I certainly would be nervous to just hand them over, so to speak.

Given that desserts are known for being high in calories, and posting that info might discourage some people from ordering, can you just say "available upon request"?

It seems that by posting the info you are now at risk for losing business.
 

Tact is telling someone where to go so nicely they can't wait to take the trip!
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Tact is telling someone where to go so nicely they can't wait to take the trip!
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post #11 of 29
Generally nutritional information is provided on a per serving basis, if the serving size is small enough the numbers shouldn't be too high.
post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by FromScratchSF View Post

Jeanie, FOR SURE I'm nervous about that - I mean, I have no doubt that sales will suffer when people see "gutbomb chocolate cake, 2500 kCals".  LOL  I'll cross that bridge when I get to it, I just wanted to see some other perspectives as far as essentially turning over my recipes to use this service because they think it should be no big deal.  I am the only real pastry chef that works with them, they have savory chefs that post dessert but they do things like french toast or they will buy premade puff pastry at Restaurant Depot then fill it with canned apple pie filling.  The other chefs also don't have separate businesses.  I can't imagine anyone is raising a stink over this except me.  

 

I just got an email that I can calculate the info myself and give it to them.  So I guess I won that battle!  But I'm not crazy here, right?  Would all of you raise a slight stink over this also?


No you're not crazy!  If I had your recipe chest I would protect it also.  So glad to hear you can submit the info yourself. I still say watch your sales over the couple of months.  If things seem to drop off, you might want to have another email exchange with the owner. 

I love what I do and do what I love

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I love what I do and do what I love

https://www.facebook.com/JeanneWinslowCakeDesign

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post #13 of 29

I wouldn't mind, it's not like people would be able to re-create your recipes just by seeing a list of ingredients. Bea of Bloomsbury has all her ingredients listen online for each of her cakes and I don't think it's impacted her business badly at all: http://shop.beasofbloomsbury.com/collections/cakes

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"Taste your words before you feed them to people."
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post #14 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by SugaredSaffron View Post

I wouldn't mind, it's not like people would be able to re-create your recipes just by seeing a list of ingredients. Bea of Bloomsbury has all her ingredients listen online for each of her cakes and I don't think it's impacted her business badly at all: http://shop.beasofbloomsbury.com/collections/cakes


She's just giving ingredients, not amounts. For a calorie counter you have to give exact amount of each ingredient, most of my recipes are ones I have developed, so no way would I be OK with that either.

post #15 of 29
Thread Starter 

The ingredients won't be available to the public, I would be giving them in precise amounts to the service so they can calculate and provide the nutritional info on the website.  This is a service that was created by and run by chefs, and in addition to the independent contractors (like me) that make food, they have in-house chefs that make food just for them as employees.  I don't know - I don't see what would stop them from using my recipes and claiming them as their own if I leave.  What leads me to this is - they take professional quality photos of all food put on the website for sale.  Even though I made the food, they own the photo and I apparently can't use them as part of my business.  They claim they own the copyright even though I own the intellectual property.  I let this one go for now.  But my recipes... I'm just having a real hard time with this.

 

Please express alternate viewpoints!  I am open to others saying I'm overreacting.  In fact, I want people to tell me I'm overreacting so I don't leave the co-op.  It's a steady source of income that will be felt if it's gone.  

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