Calorie posting skeptics, be damned: Mayor Bloomberg’s office wants us to know that there’s a study, from a bunch of people at Stanford, that says that New York calorie postings have indeed made a difference in how many calories people are ordering at Starbucks.
According to a release from the mayor’s office, the independent study analyzed 100 million customer receipts from stores in New York, Philadelphia, and Boston over the course of last year and found that the average number of calories in a Starbucks purchase decreased by six percent since New York adopted the calorie-posting rule. The study also found that people prone to gobbling up more than 250 calories decreased their calorie purchases by 26 percent.
The decrease in calories, however, did not correspond to a decrease in revenue (which actually increased three percent), leading the mayor’s office to crow that “[t]his study helps confirm what we’ve believed all along – consumers can make healthier choices when supplied with the right information, and businesses can profit while offering their customers healthier alternatives.”
The researchers, however, are a bit more circumspect, noting that one of the limitations of the study is “that we have data for only one chain (Starbucks). We cannot know if the effects of mandatory calorie posting at Starbucks are similar to the effects at other chains.”