FDA Ruling and Nutritionally Focused Menus: Alternative Strategies to Comply with the U.S. Federal Guidelines
Research indicates that 65% of Americans over the age of 20 years old are considered overweight. To address this public health issue, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has proposed new nutritional guidelines for restaurant menus. This study includes development and redesigning of drive-thru menus to comply with the FDA guidelines. An experiment was conducted using real drive-thru menus from selected nationwide chains complying with FDA ruling and alternativenutritionally focused menus. The first set of experimental menus includes presentation of calorie information for all menuitems offered. The second set of experimental menus includes color coded calorie specific menu categories (low, regular, and high). The obtained results indicated that the experimental nutritionally focused drive-thru menus were preferred significantly over the FDA format menus (control group). Consumers made healthier choices (low calorie menus) more often with the experimental menus over the FDA suggested format. In addition, consumer preference was higher for the experimental menus in ease of reading, layout, and convenience over the FDA suggested menu format.