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Am J Prev Med. 2013 Dec;45(6):710-9. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2013.07.014.

Customer responses to mandatory menu labeling at full-service restaurants.

Author information

1
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the School of Public Health, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Electronic address: aha27@drexel.edu.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

In 2010, Philadelphia enacted a menu-labeling law requiring full-service restaurant chains to list values for calories, sodium, fat, and carbohydrates for each item on all printed menus.

PURPOSE:

The goal of the study was to determine whether purchase decisions at full-service restaurants varied depending on the presence of labeling.

METHODS:

In August 2011, this cross-sectional study collected 648 customer surveys and transaction receipts at seven restaurant outlets of one large full-service restaurant chain. Two outlets had menu labeling (case sites); five outlets did not (control sites). Outcomes included differences in calories and nutrients purchased and customers' reported use of nutrition information when ordering. Data were analyzed in 2012.

RESULTS:

Mean age was 37 years; 60% were female; 50% were black/African-American and reported incomes ≥$60,000. Customers purchased food with approximately 1600 kcal (food plus beverage, 1800 kcal); 3200 mg sodium; and 35 g saturated fat. After adjustment for confounders, customers at labeled restaurants purchased food with 151 fewer kilocalories (95% CI=-270, -33); 224 mg less sodium (95% CI=-457, +8); and 3.7 g less saturated fat (95% CI=-7.4, -0.1) compared to customers at unlabeled restaurants (or 155 less kilocalories from food plus beverage, 95% CI=-284, -27). Those reporting that nutrition information affected their order purchased 400 fewer food calories, 370 mg less sodium, and 10 g less saturated fat.

CONCLUSIONS:

Mandatory menu labeling was associated with better food choices among a segment of the public dining at full-service restaurants. Consumer education on the availability and use of nutrition information may extend the impact of menu labeling.

PMID:
24237912
DOI:
10.1016/j.amepre.2013.07.014
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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