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How Will New Federal Menu-Labeling Guidelines Affect Consumers?

How Will New Federal Menu-Labeling Guidelines Affect Consumers? 2018-05-08
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Jeremy Kees

As of May 7, 2018, all restaurants with 20 or more locations are required to post calorie counts and other nutritional information on their menus and menu boards. The mandatory federal guidelines were part of the Affordable Care Act, and have been negotiated by the FDA, industry, and Congress since 2010.

About 40 percent of the American population is obese, and more than 70 percent are either obese or overweight. According to the FDA, the menu-labeling rules will help consumers, "make more informed decisions about the food you eat — decisions that can help improve your overall health and that of your family."

Jeremy Kees, PhD, (pictured above) is Professor of Marketing and Business Law, the Richard J. and Barbara Naclerio Endowed Chair in Business, and Faculty Director of the Center for Marketing and Consumer Insights at Villanova School of Business. According to Kees, "The provision of nutrition information will certainly help some segments of consumers. With a strong U.S. trend toward health awareness, the segment of Americans who are already motivated to make healthy decisions will benefit greatly from this law that requires restaurants to disclose nutrition information."

Kees is available to discuss the impact the new guidelines might have on consumer behavior and how the policy could act as an added burden to restaurants. He says, "One must consider how much it is costing restaurants to analyze the nutritional content of their foods and other expenses associated with this policy."

Kees doesn't believe that all members of the population will benefit from the new rules.

"Effects at the population level are likely to be small. Lots of things have to fall into place before someone will actually change their behavior because of nutrition disclosures. They have to notice the information, the information has to differ from their expectations, and they have to be adequately motivated to make healthier choices," Kees said.

To contact Kees, click on his headshot above, call the Media Relations office at (610) 519-5152 or email

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