"While previous studies have shown mixed impacts of menu labeling in fast food settings, this study suggests that nutrition information may be particularly useful in full-service restaurants," said Donald F. Schwarz, MD, health commissioner for the City of Philadelphia and a co-author of the study.
Philadelphia's menu labeling law requires full-service chain restaurants with more than 15 locations nationwide to list values for calories, sodium, fat and carbohydrates for each item on all printed menus. Fast food restaurants must list calories on their menus boards and make the other nutrition information available upon request. Philadelphia's law is unique in requiring more than just calories on menus. The enactment of this law in 2010 created the opportunity to observe whether menu labeling affects what consumers purchase by comparing what happens at multiple locations of a single full-service chain restaurant, within and outside of city limits.
Menu labeling will expand nationwide when the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is fully implemented; at that time, all fast-food and full-service restaurant chains with more than 20 locations will be required to provide nutrition information at the point of purchase.
In this study, Auchincloss and colleagues from Drexel, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and University of Pennsylvania, assessed whether food purchases at full-service restaurants varied depending on the presence of labeling. They collected 648 customer surveys and transaction receipts at seven restaurant outlets of one large full-service restaurant chain. Two outlets had menu labeling, while five outlets did not. The authors looked at differences in calories and nutrients purchased between those who dined at outlets with menu labeling and those who did not, and at customers' reported use of nutritional information when ordering.
|Contact: Rachel Ewing|