224396 Impact on sales transactions and purchasing behavior of a menu labeling policy in King County

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Eric Finkelstein, PhD, MHA , Health Services and Systems Research, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore, Singapore
Kiersten Strombotne, BA , Health Services and Systems Research, Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, Singapore, Singapore
Nadine L. Chan, PhD, MPH , Assessment, Policy Development, and Evaluation, Public Health - Seattle and King County, Seattle, WA
James Krieger, MD, MPH , Prevention, Public Health - Seattle and King County, Seattle, WA
Wes Benson, BA , Franchise Affairs, Taco Time, Renton, WA
Introduction: One potential factor for the trend in rising obesity rates is an increase in people dining out without knowing the calorie content of foods sold in these establishments. In January 2009, King County Washington implemented a regulation requiring chain restaurants to provide nutrition information at the point of purchase. One concern is the potential negative impact on sales transactions. This study will quantify the impact of this regulation on transactions and purchasing behavior at one Mexican fast food chain with locations within and beyond King County. Methods: We use a difference-in-difference econometric approach that compares a) total transactions/month, b) total calories purchased/month and c) average calories purchased/transaction between 7 King County restaurants and 7 non-King County restaurants both before and after (up to 9 months) the legislation went into effect. The study had 80% power to detect 15% change in transactions or calories. Results: For this chain, preliminary analyses suggest little effect of the legislation on transactions or calories purchased. Trends in transactions, calories, and calories per transaction did not vary and are nearly identical for the King County and non-King County locations. We will also report any changes found in customer substitutions. Conclusions: Our study is one of the first to describe the impact of nutrition labels using restaurant data.These results suggest that menu labeling may have a limited impact on both transactions and calories consumed in this type of chain restaurant. Future research should include other restaurant concepts to determine if impact differs by establishment type.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Evaluate the impact of a menu labeling law on consumer purchasing behavior for one quick service chain restaurant.

Keywords: Nutrition, Public Policy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: made substantial contributions to (a) conception, design, and analysis and interpretation of data and to (b) drafting the article and revising it critically for important intellectual content and on (c) final approval of the version to be considered for publication
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.