Food prepared and consumed away from home accounts for a significant proportion of dietary intake among Canadians. Currently, Canadians receive little or no nutrition information when eating in restaurant and fast-food outlets. The present study examined the impact of nutrition information on menus in hospital cafeterias on noticing and perceived influence of nutrition information and on food consumption.
Exit surveys (n 1003) were conducted in two hospital cafeterias. The ‘intervention’ site featured energy (calorie), sodium and fat content on digital menu boards, as well as a health logo for ‘healthier’ items. The intervention site had also revised its menu items to improve the nutrient profiles. The ‘control’ site provided limited nutrition information at the point of sale.
Cafeteria patrons recruited using the intercept technique.
Significantly more respondents at the intervention site reported noticing nutrition information (OR = 7·6, P < 0·001) and using nutrition information to select their food items (OR = 3·3, P < 0·001) compared with patrons at the control site, after adjusting for sociodemographic factors. Patrons at the intervention site consumed significantly less energy (−21 %, P < 0·001), sodium (−23 %, P < 0·001), saturated fat (−33 %, P < 0·001) and total fat (−37 %, P < 0·001) than patrons at the control site.
A nutritional programme, including nutrition information on menus and improved nutrition profile of food offerings, was associated with substantial reductions in energy, sodium and fat consumption. The results are consistent with a positive impact of menu labelling.