Our shift to being a more health-conscious society not only helps us feel healthier, but reduces the number of health-related complications we face. One of the biggest causes of preventable disease is the rising trend of obesity. This is partly due to the increased consumption of food devoid of nutrients, high in fat, and packed with empty calories.
However, this is not without concern, as in the United States, nutritional facts list the percentage supplied that is recommended to be met per day based on an adult daily diet of 2,000 calories.
This not only helps consumers make better nutritional decisions, but also influences them to make lower calorie choices. New research confirms that disclosing the number of calories in grocery bought food as well as fast food and restaurant chains truly makes a difference.
While the study in question was carried out in Australia, it speaks volumes for the current state of the American food industry and around the world.
It was found that displaying the calorie information on food had encouraged a reduction of 27 calories per meal and 15 fewer calories per menu item by food retailers. This can be especially significant for those who eat out regularly.
This impact was found to affect women greater, as they would average a 60-calorie reduction per meal. Overweight women saw a reduction of 83 calories per meal.
“In the same way that corporate or financial disclosure changes behavior, here we see the disclosure effect changing the food environment. We know that retailers are adjusting, so there is the possibility of a combined effect. That is where I think bigger change will probably happen. All these incremental changes add up, it is cumulative,” said Lead researcher Natalina Zlatevska from the Marketing Discipline Group at UTS Business School.
The United States is a little behind when realizing such changes, but labeling laws have been set to be implemented as soon as May 2018. However, it has yet to be seen whether this change will be watered down or postponed again.