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Weighing in on Fast Food Consumption: The Effects of Meal and Calorie Disclosures on Consumer Fast Food Evaluations


  • The authors gratefully acknowledge support for this research from the Center for Retailing Excellence in the Sam M. Walton College of Business and the Mark and Dayna Sutton Faculty Support Fund.


An analysis of consumers' Weblogs and two experiments address: (1) the differences in evaluations of menu items when consumers are versus are not provided with meal calorie information, and (2) their perception of calorie levels of different types of meals. Consumers provided their calorie estimates for specific meals offered by four different fast food restaurants, and an experiment assessed effects on consumer evaluations for calorie disclosures for actual items from two of these restaurants. Results show the complex relationship between consumer perceptions regarding the restaurants, the meals and the food items that can influence consumers' calorie estimates and evaluations of meals in restaurants.