Posting point of sale nutrition information in a college dormitory food court : impact on students' food choice motives and venue sales Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/rb68xf38f

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  • As rates of obesity continue to rise in the United States, interest in restaurant menu labeling has become a growing phenomenon. Many proposed initiatives to require posted nutrition information at the point of sale or decision point for choosing restaurant fare are gaining attention. Research to explore how nutrition labeling may impact food selection, sales and consumer response is limited. The purpose of this study was to explore the various impacts of posting point of sale nutrition information (calories and fat grams) on venue and item sales as well as how food choice motives (FCM), nutrition awareness and purchase choice motives influence choice among subjects in a college dormitory food court. Nutrition information was posted for menu items at two (treatment venues) of seven total venues in a college dormitory food court. Sales data was gathered via ETEK system software to analyze trends in overall sales for all venues and for specific items sales at treatment venues. Survey data was collected before and after the treatment posting, with an N=348 respondents. Results revealed that sales declined in both treatment and some control venues over time. The experimental treatment also revealed that one venue with posted nutrition information showed significant declines in sales transactions during the nutrition information posting period, compared to baseline. Several food items from both of the treatment venues decreased in sales with the posting of nutrition information. Survey data revealed that taste and convenience ranked higher than health in motives driving food choice. Females ranked health and weight control more highly on the scale of food choice motives than males. Food choice motives from surveys were frequently similar to purchase choice motives among respondents, suggesting for this population, FCM may relate to actual purchase. Nutrition awareness was measured by two survey items asking respondents to estimate their own caloric and fat requirements; answering both correctly earned a positive score for nutrition awareness. The females in this study were more likely to earn a positive score for nutrition awareness than males. In general, only half of surveyed respondents noticed the posted nutrition information in the venues and of those who noticed it, fewer than 15% indicated that the posted nutrition information was a strong influence on their purchase choice. Although the posting of nutrition information appeared to have some impact on respondents' food purchases, additional research is needed to understand if college students' value the need to choose healthy fare; the factors that drive food choice among them; and if calorie and fat labeling will impact healthy dining in dormitory food courts.
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