Document Detail


Inviting consumers to downsize fast-food portions significantly reduces calorie consumption.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22323171     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Data-Review    
Abstract/OtherAbstract:
Policies that mandate calorie labeling in fast-food and chain restaurants have had little or no observable impact on calorie consumption to date. In three field experiments, we tested an alternative approach: activating consumers' self-control by having servers ask customers if they wanted to downsize portions of three starchy side dishes at a Chinese fast-food restaurant. We consistently found that 14-33 percent of customers accepted the downsizing offer, and they did so whether or not they were given a nominal twenty-five-cent discount. Overall, those who accepted smaller portions did not compensate by ordering more calories in their entrées, and the total calories served to them were, on average, reduced by more than 200. We also found that accepting the downsizing offer did not change the amount of uneaten food left at the end of the meal, so the calorie savings during purchasing translated into calorie savings during consumption. Labeling the calorie content of food during one of the experiments had no measurable impact on ordering behavior. If anything, the downsizing offer was less effective in changing customers' ordering patterns with the calorie labeling present. These findings highlight the potential importance of portion-control interventions that specifically activate consumers' self-control.
Authors:
Janet Schwartz; Jason Riis; Brian Elbel; Dan Ariely
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Health affairs (Project Hope)     Volume:  31     ISSN:  1544-5208     ISO Abbreviation:  Health Aff (Millwood)     Publication Date:  2012 Feb 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-02-10     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8303128     Medline TA:  Health Aff (Millwood)     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  399-407     Citation Subset:  IM    
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From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine


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