Availability of and Ease of Access to Calorie Information on Restaurant Websites

Gary G. Bennett, Dori M. Steinberg, Michele G. Lanpher, Sandy Askew, Ilana B. Lane, Erica L. Levine, Melody S. Goodman, Perry B. Foley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective:Offering calories on restaurant websites might be particularly important for consumer meal planning, but the availability of and ease of accessing this information are unknown.Methods:We assessed websites for the top 100 U.S. chain restaurants to determine the availability of and ease of access to calorie information as well as website design characteristics. We also examined potential predictors of calorie availability and ease of access.Results:Eighty-two percent of restaurants provided calorie information on their websites; 25% presented calories on a mobile-formatted website. On average, calories could be accessed in 2.35±0.99 clicks. About half of sites (51.2%) linked to calorie information via the homepage. Fewer than half had a separate section identifying healthful options (46.3%), or utilized interactive meal planning tools (35.4%). Quick service/fast casual, larger restaurants, and those with less expensive entrées and lower revenue were more likely to make calorie information available. There were no predictors of ease of access.Conclusion:Calorie information is both available and largely accessible on the websites of America's leading restaurants. It is unclear whether consumer behavior is affected by the variability in the presentation of calorie information.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere72009
JournalPloS one
Volume8
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 20 2013

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

Cite this

Bennett, G. G., Steinberg, D. M., Lanpher, M. G., Askew, S., Lane, I. B., Levine, E. L., Goodman, M. S., & Foley, P. B. (2013). Availability of and Ease of Access to Calorie Information on Restaurant Websites. PloS one, 8(8), [e72009]. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0072009