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Can receipts correct bad eating habits?

Can receipts correct bad eating habits?

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The jury is still out on whether posting calorie, carb and fat counts on menus encourages healthier eating habits. A recent study suggests that only one in three restaurant patrons actually pays attention to the information.

But a new type of restaurant receipt makes it difficult for diners to ignore the implications of the meal they just bought.

The Nutricate receipt from SmartReceipt provides a handy chart detailing key nutritional information in the meal just purchased. It even figures out how much of the customer’s daily calorie allowance was just consumed. And it includes customized alternative suggestions that would have made the meal healthier.

Two West Coast chains, Burgerville and Silvergreens, have tested the Nutricate for the last several years. A two-year study from Burgerville suggests that these reminders are changing ordering habits.

“We find that customers, in the aggregate, made most of the item substitutions that were encouraged by the messages, such as substituting ham for sausage in a breakfast sandwich, or substituting frozen yogurt for ice cream, though effects on overall calories and fat consumed were small,” a report from SmartReceipt notes.

This Bloomberg report provides more details on the study.

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