From Science Daily:
Imagine you’re ordering lunch from your favorite online delivery spot, and just before submitting your order, you notice that the club sandwich in your cart is marked with a red stop light signifying high calorie content. Would you keep it in your cart? New research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania suggests you might switch to a lower-calorie option. When researchers added color-coded or numeric calorie labels to online food ordering systems, the total calories ordered was reduced by about 10 percent when compared to menus featuring no calorie information at all. The study is the first to evaluate the effect of “traffic-light” calorie labeling — where green labels signal low calorie content, yellow labels signal medium calorie content, and red labels signal high calorie content — in the increasingly common setting of ordering meals online. Results are published online in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing.
“Calorie labeling appears to be effective in an online environment where consumers have fewer distractions, and the simpler traffic-light labeling seems as effective as standard calorie numbers,” said lead author Eric M. VanEpps, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher at the Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has said that in May 2017 it will begin mandating numeric calorie labeling for restaurants, movie theaters, vending machines, and food delivery services — including delivery services with online ordering. States such as Vermont…