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The Effect of Calorie Labels on Caloric Intake and Restaurant Revenue: Evidence from Two Full-Service Restaurants

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 January 2015

Brenna Ellison
Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics at the, University of Illinoisat Urbana–Champaign, Urbana, Illinois
Jayson L. Lusk
Department of Agricultural Economics at, Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma
David Davis
School of Hotel and Restaurant Administration at Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, Oklahoma
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Field experiment data were used to study the effect of numeric calorie labels in two full-service restaurants. Ultimately, both field experiments, despite using different experimental designs, reached the same conclusion: the numeric calorie label had no significant effect on total caloric intake. However, results revealed the addition of a traffic light symbol to the numeric label led to a 67.8-kcal reduction in average calories ordered. Furthermore, results showed restaurant revenue is unlikely to be affected by the addition of calorie labels on menus. The results have implications for restaurant labeling laws that are being considered around the world.

Research Article
Copyright © Southern Agricultural Economics Association 2014

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