Posting calories on menus has little effect on what customers buy, according to a recent study.
Customers at TacoTime (a western Washington chain) who read how many calories are in their chimichangas, burritos and tacos on the restaurant's menu were just as likely to order them as people who don’t have that information.
For 13 months, researchers recorded food purchases at seven suburban TacoTimes and seven inside Seattle, Washington. Seattle passed a law requiring that all fast food chains post their calories, fat and sodium content to the menus in 2009.
Once the law went into effect, public health researchers in Seattle and researchers from Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School compared what people were buying at TacoTimes inside and outside the city.
Contrary to their hypothesis, “We found no difference,” said lead author Eric Finkelstein. “We looked at the variables – the transactions, total calories per transaction, food, dessert, entrees. We weren’t able to find any effect whatsoever.”
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