Posted calorie counts in restaurants are controversial, and not just because they smack of nanny-stateism. As we’ve noted before, warning customers that their milkshake contains half a day’s recommended caloric intake may not make any difference in their ordering habits.
Now Frank Bruni has weighed in on the matter, with an op-ed coming to the same conclusion and calling for changes in terms of cost and convenience instead. He cites the recent history of cigarette smoking by way of analogy:
The principal reasons for the remarkable decrease in smoking in New York City and elsewhere over the last few decades weren’t ominous commercials and warning labels. They were taxes and the bans on indoor smoking. People kicked the habit when it became onerous, in cost and convenience, not to.
So how do you make Frappucinos onerous in cost and convenience? Bruni doesn’t say. And in certain situations, reports suggest, posting calorie counts can actually lead customers to spend more moola, not less. Why’s that? Because the healthier items are more expensive — and suddenly they look more attractive.
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