Good news for McDonald’s and its smaller rivals. People rarely pay attention to labels about calories or other fast-food content that might cause risks to health.
Researchers from New York University show why fast-food menu calorie counts do not help consumers make healthy choices in a new study published in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing.
The researchers found that only a small fraction of fast-food eaters – as little as 8 percent – are likely to make healthy choices as a result of current calorie labeling. The study comes less than two months before a federal policy goes into effect requiring calorie labeling nationwide and provides recommendations for improving labeling that could boost the odds of diners making healthy choices.
But despite the rapid and widespread adoption of policies to require calorie counts at restaurants, most studies of calorie labels in fast-food restaurants in places that have already adopted labeling, including New York, have found little evidence that fast-food consumers are changing their behaviors in response to the labels.
So much for weaning people off 530-calorie Big Macs.