Date of Award
Doctor of Psychology (PsyD)
Graduate Department of Clinical Psychology
Kathleen Gathercoal, PhD
Mary Peterson, PhD
Jeri Turgesen, PsyD
This study examined whether purchasing behavior of patrons in a college campus cafe changed when calorie information was provided. It compared weekly sales on food items before and after calorie information was posted for a group of target items (n = 6) that had calorie counts posted in fall 2017 and two groups of comparison items. Archival sales data were collected using the existing point-of-sale system. Sales of target items, which had calories displayed next to them, dropped significantly when compared with sales of the same items during the previous year. Sales of target items also dropped significantly when compared with sales of items matched either on food type or average sales in the year before posting calorie information. Findings indicate that posting calorie information had a significant effect on sales of items for which calorie information is displayed. Interestingly, most (80%) of the patrons of the cafe reported they were unaware of the calorie postings. Future research may focus on the impact of posting calorie information on the behavior of specific populations, settings, and formats. The addition of contextual information such as recommended daily caloric intake may provide additional perspective.
Rose, April V., "Do Calories Count? Examining the Impact of Calorie Awareness on Food Selection" (2018). Doctor of Psychology (PsyD). 507.