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Health Educ Q. 1990 Summer;17(2):157-67.

Restaurant menu labeling: impact of nutrition information on entree sales and patron attitudes.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, Stanford University.


This study examined changes in sales of low fat/low cholesterol foods targeted in a restaurant menu labeling program. Sales of labeled items were tracked before and after the program was introduced, and a subsample of patrons were surveyed for information on visibility and comprehension of the menu labels. Two of the four restaurants had significant increases in the sales of targeted foods following labeling. Comparisons between patrons dining in restaurants which had an increase in sales (I--increase restaurants) to those dining in restaurants which had no overall shift in sales (NI--no increase restaurants) revealed no differences in patron awareness or comprehension of the menu labels. There were age and gender differences between I and NI restaurants, with I restaurants having proportionally more males, and a younger clientele. Taste was the primary reason given by patrons for their entree choice, regardless of whether or not it was labeled. In all four restaurants women and older patrons were more aware of the program and more responsive to its recommendations. These findings suggest that environmental strategies may be an effective method of encouraging dietary changes in the general population, but patron characteristics such as age and gender may influence receptivity to this type of intervention. Future studies aimed at developing effective point of purchase education programs should evaluate these patron characteristics and include more powerful behavior change strategies.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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