NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH
NATIONAL BUREAU OF ECONOMIC RESEARCH

Calorie Posting in Chain Restaurants

Bryan Bollinger, Phillip Leslie, Alan Sorensen

NBER Working Paper No. 15648
Issued in January 2010
NBER Program(s):   HC   HE   IO

We study the impact of mandatory calorie posting on consumers' purchase decisions, using detailed data from Starbucks. We find that average calories per transaction falls by 6%. The effect is almost entirely related to changes in consumers' food choices--there is almost no change in purchases of beverage calories. 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. Survey evidence and analysis of commuters suggest the mechanism for the effect is a combination of learning and salience.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w15648

Published: Bryan Bollinger & Phillip Leslie & Alan Sorensen, 2011. "Calorie Posting in Chain Restaurants," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 91-128, February. citation courtesy of

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