May Quiz - What's Your Take?


Those who answered "yes" back up the results of a pilot study released in March. The authors conducted a series of tests on how disclosing nutrition information affects consumers.

In one of the studies, 50 participants ate the same turkey sandwich for lunch, which actually contained almost 1,000 calories. Some of the lunch-goers were then given the nutrition data. After a few hours, they were offered candies under the guise of a taste test.

Compared to the participants who were not given nutrition information, those who knew the high calorie and fat content of the turkey sandwich ate less candy.

Other tests in the same study confirmed previous research showing we are not good at estimating calories. For the lunch, participants underestimated the sandwiches calories and fat level by about half. And when a menu option was labeled "low calorie," almost 9 out of 10 consumers underestimated its calories by an average of 25%.

Source: Howlett, E., et al. Coming to a Restaurant Near You: Potential Consumer Responses to Nutritional Information Disclosure on Menus. Journal of Consumer Research: electronically published March 2009.

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