McDonald's survey concludes customers don't use calorie counts
Jessica Janner & Joyce Lupiani
(KTNV) -- A new survey says that most people don't pay attention to the calorie counts on menus.
Researchers surveyed 1,900 customers at two McDonald's in New York City.
The survey found that the customers who saw the recommended number of calories for a meal -- 650 to 800 -- still ate an average of 60 more calories that the people who did not see the recommended number.
The researchers stood outside two McDonald's restaurants and asked if customers would save their receipts and take part in a short survey after their meals.
Some customers were also slipped a note that reminded them that women should limit their lunchtime meals to 650 calories and men should not eat more than 800.
The study found that women purchased an average of 824 calories and men consumed 890 calories.
That means that women ate 27% more calories than recommended and that men at 11% more than the recommended amount.
The researchers expected the people who received the information about recommended calorie counts would eat less.
Not only did that not happen but those who received the information ate more.
The author of the study says she believes the reason people actually ate more is because they had a false sense of security because of the information received and may have ordered a bigger soda or a bigger order of fries.
The researchers concluded that the results provided little hope that calorie recommendations would "salvage the weak or nonexistent effect of menu labeling."
The study was conducted by researchers from the Department of Social and Decision Science at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and Cornell University's Department of Applied Economics and Management.