Restaurants are key venues for reducing sodium intake in the United States but little is known about consumer perceptions of sodium in restaurant foods. This study aimed to fill this gap by examining the accuracy of consumer estimates of sodium in restaurant meals. In 2013 and 2014, meal receipts and questionnaires were collected from adults and adolescents dining at six restaurant chains in four New England cities. The sample included 993 adults and 794 adolescents. Diners were asked to estimate the amount of sodium in the meal they had just purchased. Mean (SD) actual sodium content of meals was 1292 mg (970) for adults and 1128 mg (891) for adolescents. One-quarter of diners were unable or unwilling to provide estimates of the sodium content of their meals. Of those who provided estimates, 90 percent of adults and 88 percent of adolescents underestimated sodium in their meals, with adults underestimating sodium by a mean (SD) of 1013 mg (1,055) and adolescents underestimating by 876 mg (1,021). Respondents underestimated sodium content more for meals with greater sodium content. The study also found significant differences in sodium estimation by chain. Education about sodium at point-of-purchase, such as provision of sodium information on restaurant menu boards, may help correct consumer underestimation, particularly for meals of high sodium content.
Consumer Underestimation of Sodium in Fast Food Restaurant Meals: Results From a Cross-Sectional Observational Study
Little is known about how calorie menu labeling in restaurants is likely to affect children and adolescents. Thus, the specific aims of this study are to: 1) determine the extent to which calorie menu labeling affects school-age children’s and adolescents’ eating behaviors, nutritional knowledge, and awareness and use of calorie … More
A Qualitative Study of Parents With Children 6 to 12 Years Old: Use of Restaurant Calorie Labels to Inform the Development of a Messaging Campaign
U.S. law mandates that chain restaurants with 20 or more locations post calorie information on their menus to inform consumers and encourage healthy choices. This study aimed to better understand parents’ perceptions and use of calorie labeling and the types of messages that might increase use. Researchers conducted 10 focus … More
A growing number of consumers are ordering groceries online and picking them up in-store (OOPIS) to limit their exposure to the COVID-19 virus. Although OOPIS has been widely adopted, WIC participants in most states are unable to use OOPIS to redeem their WIC benefits due to significant legal barriers. To … More