Abstract

In an effort to help Americans make healthier food choices, U.S. lawmakers recently mandated certain restaurants to add calorie labels to their menus. In this study, we implement the same numeric calorie labels in two different full service restaurants using two different experimental designs. Ultimately, both field experiments lead us to the same conclusion: the numeric calorie label (as currently proposed by the FDA) had little effect on total caloric intake. Our results do reveal, however, that the effectiveness of the numeric label could be enhanced with the addition of a traffic light symbol identifying low-, medium-, and high-calorie items.

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