Applebee's International, which owns the Applebee's Neighborhood Grill & Bar restaurant chain, said last week it will add a new "Weight Watchers" section to its menus. Applebee's will work with Weight Watchers International, which gives its members nutrition and exercise advice, to develop health-conscious menu items, listing them in a separate part of the menu so customers can spot them more easily.
New appetizers, entrees and desserts will be tested in some markets later this year and then offered next year in every Applebee's restaurant in the United States and Canada, the Overland Park, Kansas-based restaurant chain said.
Rising obesity rates in North American have drawn waves of publicity and recent lawsuits have targeted the food industry, criticizing its role in the trend. Kraft Foods said early this month it would reduce its portion sizes and improve the overall nutritional content of its foods, beginning in 2004.
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