Investigating the Effect of Restaurant Menu Labelling on Consumer Food Choices Using a Field Experiment



Erdem S (2021) Investigating the Effect of Restaurant Menu Labelling on Consumer Food Choices Using a Field Experiment. British Food Journal.

Purpose The aim is to explore the impact of new menu labels on consumers' actual meal purchases with a field experiment undertaken in a local restaurant. Design/methodology/approach The author used a field experiment in a natural eating environment at a restaurant to investigate the effect of restaurant menu labelling on consumers' meal choices and opinions on the use of nutritional labels on menus. The experiment included control and treatment conditions in which we offered customers unlabelled and labelled menus, respectively. After individuals' dining experience, the data on meal choices and attitudes to menu labelling was collected via a brief questionnaire. The author then performed inferential statistical analysis to test differences between the control and treatment conditions and logistic regression analysis to explore further what predicts the probability of labels being influential on meal choice. Findings The study finds that the information provided to the consumers on restaurant menus matters. The more useful the information is perceived by consumers, the more likely the labels will influence their choices. Calorie content and the walking minutes to burn those calories on labels were considered the most useful aspect of the menu labels. Originality/value The study contributes to a better understanding of the impact of menu labelling on actual meal purchases, as well as the best way to communicate calorie and nutrient information to consumers. The author also shares her experience designing a field experiment with a restaurateur for future research.

Consumer behavior; consumer choice; Menu labelling; Consumer perceptions; Calorie labelling; Traffic light coding

Output Status: Forthcoming/Available Online

British Food Journal

StatusIn Press
Publication date online02/12/2021
Date accepted by journal31/10/2021

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Professor Seda Erdem

Professor Seda Erdem

Professor, Economics