Consumer awareness of fast-food calorie information in NYC



We assessed consumer awareness of menu calorie information at fast-food chains after the introduction of New York City’s health code regulation requiring these chains to display food-item calories on menus and menu boards.


At 45 restaurants representing the 15 largest fast-food chains in the city, we conducted cross-sectional surveys 3 months before and 3 months after enforcement began. At both time points, customers were asked if they had seen calorie information and, if so, whether it had affected their purchase. Data were weighted to the number of city locations for each chain.


We collected 1188 surveys pre-enforcement and 1229 surveys postenforcement. Before enforcement, 25% of customers reported seeing calorie information; postenforcement, this figure rose to 64% (P < .001; 38% and 72%, weighted). Among customers who saw calorie information postenforcement, 27% said they used the information, which represents a 2-fold increase in the percentage of customers making calorie-informed choices (10% vs 20%, weighted; P < .001).


Posting calorie information on menu boards increases the number of people who see and use this information. Since enforcement of New York’s calorie labeling regulation began, approximately 1 million New York adults have seen calorie information each day

Researchers: Dumanovsky T1, Huang CY, Bassett MT, Silver LD

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