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To understand price incentives to upsize combination meals at fast-food restaurants by comparing the calories (i.e. kilocalories; 1 kcal = 4·184 kJ) per dollar of default combination meals (as advertised on the menu) with a higher-calorie version (created using realistic consumer additions and portion-size changes).
Combination meals (lunch/dinner: n 258, breakfast: n 68, children’s: n 34) and their prices were identified from online menus; corresponding nutrition information for each menu item was obtained from a restaurant nutrition database (MenuStat). Linear models were used to examine the difference in total calories per dollar between default and higher-calorie combination meals, overall and by restaurant.
Ten large fast-food chain restaurants located in the fifteen most populous US cities in 2017–2018.
There were significantly more calories per dollar in higher-calorie v. default combination meals for lunch/dinner (default: 577 kJ (138 kcal)/dollar, higher-calorie: 707 kJ (169 kcal)/dollar, difference: 130 kJ (31 kcal)/dollar, P < 0·001) and breakfast (default: 536 kJ (128 kcal)/dollar, higher-calorie: 607 kJ (145 kcal)/dollar, difference: 71 kJ (17 kcal)/dollar, P = 0·009). Results for children’s meals were in the same direction but were not statistically significant (default: 536 kJ (128 kcal)/dollar, higher-calorie: 741 kJ (177 kcal)/dollar, difference: 205 kJ (49 kcal)/dollar, P = 0·053). Across restaurants, the percentage change in calories per dollar for higher-calorie v. default combination meals ranged from 0·1 % (Dunkin’ Donuts) to 55·0 % (Subway).
Higher-calorie combination meals in fast-food restaurants offer significantly more calories per dollar compared with default combination meals, suggesting there is a strong financial incentive for consumers to ‘upsize’ their orders. Future research should test price incentives for lower-calorie options to promote healthier restaurant choices.
To summarize stakeholder recommendations and ratings of strategies to reduce sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption and increase water access and intake among young children (0–5 years).
Two online surveys: survey 1 asked respondents to recommend novel and innovative strategies to promote healthy beverage behaviour; survey 2 asked respondents to rank each of these strategies on five domains (overall importance, feasibility, effectiveness, reach, health equity). Open-ended questions were coded and analysed for thematic content.
Using a snowball sampling approach, respondents were invited to complete the survey through an email invitation or an anonymous listserv link. Of the individuals who received a private email invitation, 24 % completed survey 1 and 29 % completed survey 2.
Survey 1 (n 276) and survey 2 (n 182) included expert stakeholders who work on issues related to SSB and water consumption.
Six overarching strategies emerged to change beverage consumption behaviours (survey 1): education; campaigns and contests; marketing and advertising; price changes; physical access; and improving the capacity of settings to promote healthy beverages. Labelling and sugar reduction (e.g. reformulation) were recommended as strategies to reduce SSB consumption, while water testing and remediation emerged as a strategy to promote water intake. Stakeholders most frequently recommended (survey 1) and provided higher ratings (survey 2) to strategies that used policy, systems and/or environmental changes.
The present study is the first to assess stakeholder opinions on strategies to promote healthy beverage consumption. This knowledge is key for understanding where stakeholders believe resources can be best utilized.
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