Thursday, March 31, 2011

Indirect proof that menu board calories help

There have been a series of conflicting journal articles regarding the utility of menu board calorie posting in affecting change and often folks like me will latch onto methodologies in order to explain results that we might not expect.

Putting aside the evidence-based conclusions, today I want to offer an indirect proof that menu board calorie posting will help people navigate caloric choice.

According to Bloomberg, movie theatre conglomerates are lobbying the American congress to exempt them from the food labeling law that would require they post the fact that their large popcorns contains pretty much the same number of calories (1,460) you'd find in 6 McDonald's hamburgers (1,500).

Of course if menu board calories didn't impact sales, there ought not to be any reason to care, and it sure ain't the cost of changing the actual menu boards as guaranteed their lobbying efforts costs are orders of magnitude higher than making new signs.

I know, not an evidence-based study but certainly one which suggests to me that when faced with some of the more obscene caloric realities out there, diners (and movie goers), will in fact choose differently.

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  1. 1400 calories in a large popcorn?? Like the same original corn that all of us dieters have had for years. What do they do to it??

    Wow makes you want to bring your own to the movie.

  2. Anonymous9:03 am

    I can easily work out the calories and fat in any size theatre popcorn bucket based on knowledge of the ingredients - which we bought for our home use. Butter salt is sea salt ground down, mixed with yellow curry and a wee bit of onion powder for good measure. This is serious salt. The recommended amount per batch made my eyes water and I forced Joe to throw it away and start over with half the amount. I also had him throw that away. I was almost puking by this point. Anyway, he made one more batch, and I kid you not, it was using and 1/8th of what cinemas use and it was perfect. This is our standard amount now added to 1 teaspoon of coconut oil. Done!

    Dirt cheap butter salt and the generous amounts were were told to use to get the same result as cinemas should be your first clue. The only good news about their ingredients list is they use coconut oil, but they negate that by using way too much of it, so the fat count looks way, way out of whack. And the kernels themselves have their own calorie count.

    Now I want to spend some time working out the numbers per batch for my own reference. Will report back if the numbers make me faint. :-)


  3. Anonymous1:27 pm

    The louder the health claim being advertised on restaurant menus the more suspicious I become. "Low Fat" always means high sugar (and vice versa), and sodium levels are NEVER advertised...guess why. Case in time you find yourself in your local (iconic) donut chain restaurant (Canada), look at the product display signs...hmmm

    Consumers should be accountable for what they put in their mouths, however only when they can make informed decisions. So many food/menu items contain hidden dangers (unhealthy additions that you would not logically know are included). I can assume that if I ask for butter topping, that I am adding calories/fat, however plain popcorn, should be just that, or added ingredients should be posted.

    The restaurant industry needs to be held accountable for their actions. I say post the calories and outlaw food/menu items that exceed standards for % of fat/sodium/sugar content.