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The Value and Cost of Restaurant Calorie Labels: Results from a Field Experiment

Author

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  • Ellison, Brenna D.
  • Lusk, Jayson L.
  • Davis, David W.

Abstract

Using field experiment data, we estimate a structural model of consumer demand to determine the value of information for restaurant menu labels. Our experimental design allows us to compare the effectiveness of calorie labels to a “fat tax” at reducing caloric intake. Results show numeric labels did not influence demand, but symbolic traffic light labels reduced the marginal utility of caloric intake. Our model projects both labels would reduce intake more than high-calorie taxes or low-calorie subsidies. Ultimately, traffic light calorie labels led to the largest reduction in caloric intake but also one of the largest reductions in restaurant net returns.

Suggested Citation

  • Ellison, Brenna D. & Lusk, Jayson L. & Davis, David W., 2012. "The Value and Cost of Restaurant Calorie Labels: Results from a Field Experiment," 2012 AAEA/EAAE Food Environment Symposium 123529, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aaeafe:123529
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    File URL: http://ageconsearch.umn.edu/record/123529/files/Ellison_TheValueandCostofRestaurantCalorieLables.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:aph:ajpbhl:10.2105/ajph.2009.174839_4 is not listed on IDEAS
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    3. Michael L. Anderson & David A. Matsa, 2011. "Are Restaurants Really Supersizing America?," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 152-188, January.
    4. repec:aph:ajpbhl:10.2105/ajph.2004.054973_3 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Steven D. Levitt & John A. List, 2007. "What Do Laboratory Experiments Measuring Social Preferences Reveal About the Real World?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 21(2), pages 153-174, Spring.
    6. Pierre Chandon & Brian Wansink, 2007. "The Biasing Health Halos of Fast-Food Restaurant Health Claims: Lower Calorie Estimates and Higher Side-Dish Consumption Intentions," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(3), pages 301-314, June.
    7. Foster, William & Just, Richard E., 1989. "Measuring welfare effects of product contamination with consumer uncertainty," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 17(3), pages 266-283, November.
    8. Schroeter, Christiane & Lusk, Jayson & Tyner, Wallace, 2008. "Determining the impact of food price and income changes on body weight," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 27(1), pages 45-68, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Zaffou, Madiha & Campbell, Benjamin, 2015. "The Effect of Restaurant Menu Labeling on Consumer’s Choice: Evidence from a Choice Experiment Involving Eye-Tracking," 2015 AAEA & WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California 206194, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    2. Menapace, Luisa & Raffaelli, Roberta, 2013. "Do ‘locally grown’ claims influence artisanal food purchase? Evidence from a natural field experiment," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150282, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    3. Zaffou, Madiha & Campbell, Benjamin, 2016. "The Impact of Restaurant Menu Labeling on the Cost of the Selected Meals," 2016 Annual Meeting, February 6-9, 2016, San Antonio, Texas 229941, Southern Agricultural Economics Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety;

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