Scholarship of Discovery
A study of a sample (n=59) of college students at a small, liberal arts university investigated the efficacy of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010’s Section 4205, which necessitated calorie labeling on menus of all restaurants, including fast food establishments, with 20 or more locations. The control group (n=31) of students was presented with popular fast food menu items as they currently appear on the menu, without caloric content or a recommended calorie intake statement. The experimental group (n=28) was presented with the same menu with caloric content and a statement regarding suggested daily intake. Each menu consisted of 26 items presented in color. All survey participants were asked to select items they would typically order for a meal. Participants also completed a survey concerning exercise and types and frequency of fast food restaurants they patronize. In number of calories ordered, no significant data resulted, indicating that no difference in the two groups’ ordering habits existed. This suggested that calorie labeling might not have an impact on consumers’ food selection. However, a trend did appear of males ordering more calories when shown calorie information and females ordering fewer calories when shown caloric information. This research opens avenues for further studies on the psychological and health-related implications of nutrition labeling in restaurants, as well as the differences in responses for males and females.
Watson, Kelsey D., "To What Extent Does Posted Nutrition Information in Fast Food Restaurants Influence Consumer Food Choices?" (2013). Honors Program Projects. 46.