Dunkin’ Donuts’ “6 Donuts for $3” deal can make any penny-conscious consumer pause, especially in these recession-riddle times. But stop for a coffee in New York and the same donut deal looks a lot less appetizing; It’s now paired with a calorie count that’s shocking enough to make even the most wallet-worried spender rethink bringing a box home to those they love. The Big Apple banner? ”6 Donuts for $3 (1,140 – 3,060).” Suddenly, the parenthesized calories make it seem less like a tasty treat and more like an attack on personal health.
Though I can only imagine the heart-attack-inducing moment most fast-food CEOs had when they learned they would have to start posting the caloric tally of everything from Big Macs to banana splits last April, it doesn’t seem to be keeping BFBs from walking up to the counter. It does, however, seem to be affecting what they order. Even the most unconcerned-with-calories of New York-residing guys have slowly found themselves ordering differently, switching from Subway’s 560-calorie meatball marinara to the less-heavy 280-calorie turkey sub or leaving the 120-calorie whipped cream off their frozen latte.
“It’s hard not to be affected by it when it’s staring you in the face,” says one guy, chomping down on his new lighter breakfast: an egg-and-cheese on an English muffin—a major switch from the bacon-egg-and-cheese bagel he used to order. A recent survey by Chicago-based foodservice consultants Technomic, Inc., agrees, finding:
… 86 per cent of New York City restaurant-goers were surprised by the calorie count information now listed on menus or menu boards, with 90 per cent of them claiming that the calorie count was higher than expected. As a consequence, 82 per cent suggested that calorie disclosure is affecting what they order, with 60 per cent indicating it is affecting where they visit.
No, it’s still not “health food,” but the fact that a fast-food run in New York gives on-the-spot lessons of how many calories go-to-grub contains means two great things for New York-residing ladies: 1) They no longer have to cringe when their boy tosses out a comment like the 2,000-calorie burrito he just downed “was a snack” and 2) Guys that never before thought about calories are starting to flip over packages to read nutrition labels elsewhere, like the grocery store—which means healthier foods in the house for both of you.
So, guys, girls: If you live in New York, have the calorie counts changed what you or your date decides to eat? And if you don’t live in the Big Apple, do you think that if your state started posting calorie counts it would change what you and your honey pick off the menu??