Though the move to require menus to sport calorie information was met with applause by health advocates, a new, limited, study of Taco Time restaurants in Seattle says they don’t change what people decide to eat.
The researchers compared sales at seven Taco Time restaurants that had the menu labels with seven that didn’t. They also looked at sales both before and after the regulation started. They found no change whatsoever.
“Given the results of prior studies, we had expected the results to be small,” wrote lead team Eric Finkelstein, “but we were surprised that we could not detect even the slightest hint of changes in purchasing behavior as a result of the legislation. The results suggest that mandatory menu labeling, unless combined with other interventions, may be unlikely to significantly influence the obesity epidemic.”
Oops. If you want to make a difference, they’ll have to start doing something like serving smaller portions, use better ingredients, or change to healthier meals. It looks like simply slapping on a “600″ next to a picture of an ice cream isn’t going to change someone’s mind who has already walked in deciding what they want to consume.
Mandatory menu labeling didn’t change behavior at 1 fast food chain [Press Release]
Evidence Menu Labels Don’t Affect Calorie Consumption [Miller-McCune]