Friday, September 20, 2013

Using High Calorie Counts to Promote Value in Fast Food Sales

This is hysterical. You could not write a funnier response to the nanny state's demand to publish calorie counts.     

This is from Ezra Klein writing at the Washington Post, hat tip to John Goodman:
It draws your eye immediately. It's also one of the highest calorie counts on the whole menu. That's because the high calorie count is, in this case, the selling point. 
McDonald's is using the calorie count for the exact opposite purpose public-health advocates intended: It's using high calorie counts to convey what an incredible deal their food is. Look how many calories you get for only $5.69! That's a way better per-calorie deal than pretty much anything else on the board. 
Most studies have found little effect from the introduction of calorie counts -- and some studies even hinted at an increase in calories ordered -- so this kind of thing isn't a big surprise. But it's still a nice reminder of how hard it is to get people to change their health habits, and how often well-intentioned interventions end up disappointing.