Customers prefer restaurants that offer nutrition facts, healthful foods

April 1, 2014
Penn State
Customers are more likely to frequent restaurants that provide both healthful foods and nutrition information, according to researchers.
This trend has been growing in the large urban cities over the last few years, irrespective of a downturn, and The Affordable Care Act has mandated that chain restaurants provide nutrition information to customers. Many restaurants had been fighting this legislation because they thought they would lose customers if the customers knew how unhealthy their food was. However, customers perceive restaurants to be socially responsible when they are provided with nutrition facts and healthful options and, therefore, are more likely to patronize those restaurants.

The Act applies to chain restaurants — those with more than 20 restaurants — provide nutrition information to customers. This will put fast food chains like McDonald’s, KFC, Pizza Hut etc in jeopardy as their food cannot be made in a nutritious manner in the current scenario of quick service and pricing.

To conduct their study, the researchers presented participants with various scenarios, including the presence or absence of nutrition information and the presence or absence of healthful foods. They asked the participants to read example menus presenting these scenarios and to answer questions about their perception of the restaurant’s corporate social responsibility, their attitude, their willingness to select the restaurants and their health-consciousness. The team collected responses from 277 participants.

The researchers found that when participants were presented with a scenario in which a restaurant presented nutrition information and served healthful food options, the participants were significantly more likely to perceive that the restaurant was socially responsible.

The results appeared in the February 2014 issue of the International Journal of Hospitality Management.

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The above story is based on materials provided by Penn State.

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