Menu Design Affects Calories Consumed
A diner’s decision to order a meal labeled “low calorie” on a restaurant menu might depend on how items are presented on the menu, researchers found in a series of experiments. When calories were posted for all dishes, 272 study volunteers chose options averaging 15 percent fewer calories. But when low-calorie options were then grouped together beneath an “under 700 calories” heading, the calorie count of participants’ menu choices rose by 11 percent. Giving people more time to order decreased the calorie count of their choices even with the grouping, as did renaming the low-calorie category “favorites.” Consumers may perceive “low-calorie” food as less appealing when grouped on the menu, but might revise their thinking when they spend more time searching for such items, the researchers suggest.
Source: Journal of Consumer Research, published online March 12, 2014