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Burgers break onto Smart Choice menu

The at-times beleaguered burger has made a breakthrough on the New Zealand eating out menu - three of its kind have now been given the nod by the National Heart Foundation.

The Gourmet Burger Bistro has just achieved a first, by becoming the first eatery in the country to receive the Heart Foundation's healthy heart symbol for three of the burgers on its menu.

Gourmet Burger Bistro in Lower Hutt has become the first of the franchise's eateries to join the Heart Foundation's Smart Choice restaurant programme, which aims to help diners spot healthy options when dining out, and encourage chefs to provide them. Eateries work with Heart Foundation nutritionists to see a selection of their recipes meet heart-healthy criteria including reduced fat, salt and sugar content. Approved items contain less than 10% fat, for example, and are marked on the menu with the Smart Choice heart symbol.

Heart Foundation Food Industry Manager Leanne Young says it is an exciting development to have a burger join the ranks of Smart Choice.

"Fastfood items like the burger are traditionally high in fat - and we know that a diet high in animal fat is a major risk factor for heart disease, as well as a number of other health problems.

"What the Gourmet Burger Company has shown is that the burger can not only be tasty and satisfying but also kinder on our hearts and health, as part of a healthy diet and lifestyle," says Leanne Young.

Gourmet Burger Company operations manager Ray Connor says his customers are already enthusiastically enjoying the Smart Choice burgers in growing numbers.

The secret to the low fat burgers is the Bistro's use of lean meat and chicken, and tomato chutney instead of mayonnaise. Compared to some other burger chains, the three Smart Choice Gourmet burgers contain a third of the fat.

Says Mr Connor: "With names like Deliverance and Foccocia Delight, not only do our burgers meet customer expectations in terms of flavour and taste, they're also approved by the Heart Foundation to be a nutritionally sound meal."

Gourmet Burger Bistro also offers diners three other dishes - a starter, entrée and main meal - bringing to six the number of Smart Choice items on the menu.

Lower Hutt is the first of the Gourmet Burger Company's outlets to join Smart Choice but it will be launched at the franchise's five other outlets over the next couple of months. They are on the North Shore and Pakuranga in Auckland, Hamilton and at Papanui and Colombo Street in Christchurch.

Smart Choice is one of a number of programmes the Heart Foundation runs in the food industry sphere, working with manufacturers and eating establishments to help provide heart-healthy choices for New Zealanders. With more New Zealanders eating a greater number of meals away from the home, and the demand for healthy options growing, the programmes are proving a winning formula for all Kiwi hearts - customers and businesses.

ends

Media inquiries/ photo opportunities: Leanne Young, Food Industry Manager, Heart Foundation, ph (09) 571 9191 ext 725 or mob 025 290 8707 or Ray Connor, Gourmet Burger Company, ph (04) 586 8587.

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