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Am J Clin Nutr. 2011 Aug;94(2):562-70. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.111.013417. Epub 2011 Jun 15.

Posting point-of-purchase nutrition information in university canteens does not influence meal choice and nutrient intake.

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Department of Agricultural Economics, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, Ghent University, Ghent, Belgium.



Growing concern over the relation between out-of-home eating and overweight has triggered the use of point-of-purchase (POP) nutrition information when eating out of the home. In canteens that offer various unhealthy choices, the posting of POP nutrition information has the potential to improve meal choices and dietary intakes.


The objective of this study was to increase the proportion of consumed meals that comply with recommendations for energy, saturated fat, sodium, and vegetable content by 5%.


A one-group pretest-posttest design was used. A total of 224 customers of 2 university canteens completed a questionnaire used for consumer profiling and 3-d food records to assess their meal choices and nutrient intakes. The 12 best meal combinations received star ratings and descriptors for nutrients or food groups that did not comply.


Reported meal choices in canteens and nutrient intakes did not improve after the intervention (P > 0.05). The nutritional profile of the meal choice, obtained from a qualitative and quantitative nutritional assessment of meals, mirrored the nutritional profile of all meals offered (P > 0.05) and not that of the recommended meals offered (P < 0.001). Meal choices were not compensated for later in the day (P > 0.05). The healthiest choices were made by participants with greater objective nutrition knowledge, stronger health and weight-control motives, and a greater openness to change meal choices at baseline (P < 0.05).


The posting of nutrition information in university canteens did not effectively change meal choices and nutrient intakes. Despite the intervention, meal choices were largely determined by meals offered. Therefore, nutrition-information interventions in canteens may be more effective with a healthier meal supply. This trial was registered at as NCT01249508.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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