Calories on a food menu
Rational choice theory would dictate that if you give people simple nutritional advice they will gladly follow it. It also makes sense to offer consumers another ‘deciding metric’ other than price on which to make a choice about food, i.e. ‘that one may be cheaper but it does have more calories’. And if the information was easy to access and clearly for the benefit of the consumer why would they not make the right decisions?
A European fast food chain decided to try it out. When they added the calorie content of each item to the menu it turned out that barely anyone’s consumption patterns changed. Consumers didn’t actually order any different despite knowing that some items were really unhealthy.
But people did end up consuming less calories. How?
Well the chain actually got rather embarrassed about their calorific options and decided to reassess the recipes for them. They didn’t want to be known as one of the bad guys and so changed their product to look good.
So even when you think you’re nudging your customer … you may actually just be nudging yourself.