Prevalence and extent of volume discounts in US fast-food restaurants
Methods: Data were collected in fast-food outlets located in a nationally representative sample of public middle- and high-school enrollment areas in 2010 and 2011. Where fountain drinks and french fries were available, the prices for the smallest and largest sizes were recorded. Volume discounts were calculated for each outlet using portion size information obtained from the websites of major chains included in the study.
Results: Based on 2010 data from 610 outlets (representing 11 fast-food chains), the average volume discount offered for fountain drinks was 2.6 cents/ounce; the largest size was, on average, 2/3 the unit price of the smallest size. The average volume discount per chain ranged from 1.5 to 4.4 cents/ounce. Results will be presented on volume discounts for fountain drinks and french fries using two years of data and will explore differences by community race/ethnicity and income.
Discussion: Communities throughout the U.S. are considering strategies for improving dietary patterns within restaurants, including taxes and limits on portion sizes. This research demonstrates that larger portions are priced relatively lower than smaller portions in major fast-food chains and that the extent of this price difference varies by chain.
Learning Areas:Administer health education strategies, interventions and programs
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related organizational policy, standards, or other guidelines
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Assess the prevalence of volume discounts for fountain drinks and french fries in fast-food restaurants using observational data collected from a national sample of restaurant outlets and company websites; Compare the extent of volume discounts offered on fountain drinks and french fries across fast-food chains; and Assess differences in the extent of volume discounts offered on fountain drinks and french fries in fast-food restaurants by community race/ethnicity and income.
Keyword(s): Food and Nutrition, Marketing
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have worked in public health nutrition for over 10 years, spending much of that time examining influences of the food environment (including product marketing) on consumer behavior. I led the development of and training on the fast food data collection instrument used in this study and worked collaboratively on the data analysis.
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.