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Law Leads Starbucks Customers To Curb Calorie Consumption

January 7, 2010

A Stanford University study found that a New York City law requiring restaurants to post the calories of their menu items led Starbucks customers to consume 6 percent fewer calories per transaction, Reuters reported.

The study said that calorie consumption for many customers who averaged more than 250 calories per purchase fell by a more dramatic 26 percent.

Researchers Bryan Bollinger, Phillip Leslie and Alan Sorensen persuaded Starbucks to provide them with sales data enabling them to observe every transaction from January 2008 to February 2009 and it was revealed that calories per transaction fell on average to 232 from 247.

However, the impact was almost entirely on food choices, not beverages.

The study, dated January 2010, said there is no impact on Starbucks profit on average, and for the subset of stores located close to their competitor Dunkin’ Donuts, the effect of calorie posting is actually to increase Starbucks revenue.

New York required chain restaurants to post calorie counts in 2008 and since then several other states have followed.

And with U.S. obesity rates on the rise, there is now legislation before the U.S. Congress for more widespread adoption of such procedures.

A 2009 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showed that U.S. obesity rates rose to 26.6 percent in 2008 from 15.9 percent in 1995.

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