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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 6, 2009 11:08 AM. The previous post in this blog was Pay me my money down. The next post in this blog is Somebody's figured it out. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Stop the presses

Breaking news: People who eat at McDonald's aren't really influenced by signs posting how many calories are in everything. Researchers verified this by noting that no one was running out the door in horror.

Comments (16)

Yes but it makes the nosy nanny staters feel better about themselves. Such foolishness waste is never about results - just intentions.

I hope they (the government folks) really didn't think that they would drive McD's and Wendy's and KFC out of town by making them post up health stats.

Obviously, people are paying attention to the calorie postings. They go for the meals with the most calories, figuring they get the biggest bang for the buck.

I like the comment from one woman interviewed, "Life is short." Yeah, and for you, it's gonna be shorter.

Well, the article states that the study took place in poor black and Hispanic areas. I suspect the calorie postings might be more frequently utilized by those farther up the economic scale. Some of the fast food restaurant offerings have improved, probably to appeal more to suburban customers that might actually be reading the charts.

Whether or not it changes behavior, I've never understood those who argue for less information about our food. The same arguments were made 20 years ago about food labeling -- too expensive, no one really wants to know -- but does anyone today believe we should remove those labels?

Besides, this is good corporate policy. When the class action lawsuits on obesity start getting filed against the major fast food chains, calorie postings are going to be their best defense.

Some of the fast food restaurant offerings have improved, probably to appeal more to suburban customers that might actually be reading the charts.

I always thought fast food chains added some more healthy options to their menus so they could forestall future jury verdicts for failing to do so. If they can point to apples and yogurt on the menu, they can say that their customers had a choice in what they chose to eat. (Which is true.)

"Researchers verified this by noting that no one was running out the door in horror."

That's because we who actually would read such a posting ran out years ago!

"About 28 percent of those who noticed them said the information had influenced their ordering, and 9 out of 10 of those said they had made healthier choices as a result."

So the study suggests that over 1/4 of the patrons took notice of the calorie chart, and of those 90% changed their orders.
Sounds to me like a success. What are the alternatives for a poor kid from the streets of NY. Pizza of course and aint no chart long enough to hold that caloric nightmare.

You need to read the rest of the article. They said they changed their orders, but they didn't -- either that, or they changed them to something less healthy.

You want horror at a McDonald's? Did you hear about the new one inside the Louvre in Paris, France?
Sacrebleu, whatever that means.

It was a stupid idea that has become a stupid law - which has had almost no effect. Way to go Oregon - stupid is as stupid does.


Only at McD's can you get a full days worth of calories in one meal and for less then 5 bucks.

Actually, Miles & None, the real reason for the addition of salads and such at fry joints appears to be found in a fascinating study that found that in restaurants where health options are offered, people order MORE of the unhealthy food choices than if they only have unhealthy options.

I can't find the citation right now but I remember the study clearly because I forwarded it to many people who would be interested in it. The gist of it was that, if presented with only unhealthy options, people didn't order the fries. But if there were some healthy choices, just their presence on the menu appears to have given people a sense that they could indulge their taste for grease more -- even though they didn't actually order the healthier choices to compensate!

It has huge implications for why we see so many examples of results going in the opposite direction of effort in many fields (nutrition, public health, environmental responsibility, for example). If people have a subconscious circuit that is using the presence of healthier/sounder options as cues that it's ok to continue with the slob routine (eating the junk, acting in environmentally irresponsible ways) then we really need to understand that behavior. It might explain why things are getting worse across the board, even as more and more people are nagging us about more and more things.

One of the reasons people frequent McDonalds is that no matter where you may be, the menu and product are consistent, the price is right and the service is speedy. You know exactly what you'll be getting. It's easier for people to forgive the calorie count because of this and an atmosphere that is kid friendly without going over the top like Chuck E. Cheese.

I'm not an advocate for Mickey D's, just sayin'.

My vote for the "sore thumb" McDonald's location prize is the one sitting at the foot of the Spanish Steps in Rome.

And don't forget that unlike lots of trendy eating places these days, McDonald's is NOT going out of business anytime soon. In fact, their stock is doing reasonably well given the pathetic state of the economy.

And those coffee ads they ran earlier in the year; not only helped drive coffee sales, but did a great job showing what a pretentious bunch of clowns inhabit most coffee houses.

And, the Mickey D's at the Spanish Steps in Rome had the best restrooms (and they were free when I was there some years back)in the neighborhood!


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