Start Date: February 2013

ID #: CAS011

Organization: University of Minnesota

Project Lead: Lisa Harnack, DrPH, MPH, RD

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A number of studies have been conducted to evaluate the effect of calorie labeling on consumer food choices. In contrast, very little is known about whether and how restaurant menu offerings may change in response to calorie labeling. To address this knowledge gap, investigators assembled a dataset to examine trends in the nutritional quality of menu offerings at eight leading fast food restaurants between 1997 and 2010. This dataset has been analyzed to examine trends in the energy content and the overall nutritional quality of menu offerings. In addition, trends in the sodium and trans fatty acid content of menu offerings have been examined. This research project expanded the utility of this dataset by: 1) updating the dataset to include menu information for an additional two years (2011-2012) for the eight restaurant chains currently in the dataset (Arby’s, Burger King, Dairy Queen, Jack in the Box, KFC, McDonald’s, Taco Bell, and Wendy’s), and 2) expanding the dataset to include an additional seven restaurant chains (Chick-fil-A, Church’s Chicken, Hardee’s, Long John Silver’s, Sonic, Taco John’s, and White Castle). Menu data from 2009-2012 was added to the dataset for these additional restaurants. In addition, using the assembled dataset the nutritional quality of menu offerings at McDonald’s pre and post that chain’s voluntary implementation of nationwide calorie labeling was examined.

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