by Marion Nestle
Jun 16 2008

NYC Calorie labeling: preliminary results

The NYC Health Department has just published its baseline data for evaluation of the effects of the calorie labeling initiative. The results of a survey of 7000 diners at 275 fast food places show that just 4% of customers looked at calorie labeling when it was hidden in brochures, wall signs, and tray liners, – except at Subway. At Subway, the 31% of customers looking at calorie information chose lower calorie items. OK, the reduction was just 50 calories per meal on average, but this study was done before the labels went up on menu boards. Stay tuned.

  • It’s true that presenting customers with nutrition information at the point of purchase will have a greater impact on their buying decisions than if it is presented elsewhere. As a dietitian that provides restaurants with nutrition analysis ( I am continuously shocked by the amount of calories in the dishes served in restaurants. The liberating point is that this information is available, and we have the power to make decisions about what we order and how much of it we chose to eat.

  • Ivan Road

    Will this make people order less, buy less, eat less?

    How do you encourage people who are enjoying a night out at a restaurant, to order less, eat less.

    Do you scare them, gross them out with calorie counts?

    Do you scare them them with imminent death from obesity diseases?

    How do you make people order small plates of low-calorie food? And LIKE doing it? Or at least guilt themselves enough to do so?

    Do you have any suggestions?

    If the only mission for nutrition professionals is to get people to eat less, to stop eating, to consume fewer calories, what is your strategy?

    Perhaps that is the holy grail of nutrition schools should be.

    How you you make people stop eating so much.

    Any answers, other than tsking, and political crusading, and hanging signs in restaurants?

    Please post suggestions.