More and more chain restaurants and cafeterias are labeling menus to provide consumers with calorie and other information about standard menu items. This trend is driven by the adoption of menu labeling regulations and other policies by states, localities, and institutions as they seek to prevent and reduce obesity.
This research review summarizes new information published since the last Healthy Eating Research review of this topic in 2009. Key findings from this review show that there is a high degree of public support for providing nutrition information at the point of purchase, and menu labeling in cafeterias and restaurants increases consumers’ awareness of nutritional information.
While the review finds that the evidence about the impact of menu labeling on calories purchased or menu items selected is mixed, it also finds that menu labeling may impact some customers and types of menu items more than others, and menu labeling may have a positive influence on the nutritional content of menu items and restaurant environments (e.g., reduction in promotion of less healthy foods).