Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Contents:

Information:

  • Access

Actions:

      • Send article to Kindle

        To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

        Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

        Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

        Energy labelling at point-of-choice in catering establishments
        Available formats
        ×

        Send article to Dropbox

        To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

        Energy labelling at point-of-choice in catering establishments
        Available formats
        ×

        Send article to Google Drive

        To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your <service> account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

        Energy labelling at point-of-choice in catering establishments
        Available formats
        ×
Export citation

The provision of energy information for menu items, at the point they are ordered, in chain restaurants has been mandated across the US(1). Current policy in the UK is encouraging a voluntary scheme. This is intended to be a ‘first step’ to ‘provide consumers with clear and simple information that will enable them to make informed choices and identify foods that help them to meet their energy needs, and enable them to better maintain energy balance and a healthy weight’(2). There is little evaluation of energy labelling and controversy over whether it is wanted or needed. Mintel said only 16% want to see energy information(3)v. 40% reported by a UK postal survey(Reference Mackison, Wrieden and Anderson4). IGD(5) reported that just under half did not appear to consider balancing energy intake with expenditure. It has been reported that consumers understand the concept of energy, but closely link it to weight-loss, rather than healthy weight, and can overestimate the energy used during exercise(Reference Clegg, Jordan and Slade6).

This study aimed to gauge consumers' perceptions of energy information. Dining consumers (n 92; 60% female) were surveyed in Aberdeen; the main sample in a central food-court was combined with the initial sample (n 16) from a casual dining restaurant. The questionnaire, based on the theory of planned behaviour(Reference Francis7), explored intention to use the information for managing their weight. The survey included an example menu including energy information. Participants were questioned about using energy information to choose lower energy from the menu, determine wider diet or for physical activity.

Evaluations were positive; 49.5% thought energy information is very helpful, and the majority would use it for managing their weight (P<0.001). Attitudes towards choosing lower energy from the menu (about 65% positive), and the rest of the d/week (about 64% positive) were related to intention (r=0.417, r=0.403, respectively, P<0.01). Half believed avoiding weight gain is very important; this also related to intention (r=0.381, P<0.01). Less than half thought using energy information would be easy, approximately 30% thought it would be difficult. Again the majority said choosing to expend energy by being physically active is good (73%), and that it was neither difficult nor easy (30%) or quite easy (34%).

There was wide variation in estimates of how long it would take walking (3 mph) to burn 100 Calorie; which ranged from 4 to 120 min. Overall the mean was 30.62 (sd 22.41) min. This suggests individuals are not knowledgeable about energy used in physical activity, which agrees with other research(Reference Clegg, Jordan and Slade6, 8).

The results suggest that consumers think energy information is helpful and they intend to use it. Actual use depends on contextual factors involved in food choice. Caterers should make choosing lower-energy options easier. A process evaluation of the energy labelling scheme trial(5) concluded that its usability is dependent on visibility, understanding and engagement. Understanding of energy balance is needed for people to have a realistic view of energy use.

1.CSPI (Center for Science in the Public Interest) (2010) Health reform to deliver calorie counts to chain restaurant menus nationwide. Washington, DC:CSPI. http://www.cspinet.org/new/201003211.html
2.Food Standards Agency (FSA) (2009) Food Standards Agency Consultation. Provision of calorie labelling at point of choice in catering outlets. London: FSA. http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/consultation/calorielabellingcateroutlets.pdf
3.MINTEL (2009) Eating out meal occasions – UK – October 2009. http://academic.mintel.com
4.Mackison, D, Wrieden, WL & Anderson, AS (2009) J Hum Nutr Diet 22, 567573.
5.IGD (Institute Of Grocery Distribution) (2009) Working group report. Portion size: understanding the consumer perspective. Watford: IGD. http://www.igd.com/index.asp?id=1&fid=1&sid=4&tid=54&cid=1052
6.Clegg, S, Jordan, E & Slade, Z (2009) An evaluation of provision of calorie information by catering outlets. London: FSA. http://www.food.gov.uk/multimedia/pdfs/publication/evalcalinfocateringoutlets.pdf
7.Francis, JJ et al. (2004) Constructing questionnaires based on the theory of planned behaviour. A manual for health services researchers. Newcastle upon Tyne: ReBEQI. http://www.rebeqi.org/ViewFile.aspx?itemID=212
8.EUFIC (European Food Information Council) (2009) Nutrition information on food labels – is it read and understood? http://www.eufic.org/article/en/health-and-lifestyle/food-choice/artid/Nutrition-information-food-labels-read-understood/