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Nutrition Labeling in the Food-Away-From-Home Sector: An Economic Assessment

28 Pages Posted: 4 May 2005  

Jayachandran N. Variyam

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS)

Date Written: April 2005

Abstract

Americans spent about 46 percent of their total food budget on food-away-from-home in 2002, up from 27 percent in 1962. Such foods tend to be less nutritious and higher in calories than foods prepared at home, and some studies have linked eating away from home to overweight and obesity in adults and children. Current nutrition labeling law exempts much of the food-away-from-home sector from mandatory labeling regulations. Because consumers are less likely to be aware of the ingredients and nutrient content of away-from-home food than of foods prepared at home, public health advocates have called for mandatory nutrition labeling for major sources of food-away-from-home, such as fast-food and chain restaurants. This report provides an economic assessment of a food-away-from-home nutrition labeling policy, including justifications for policy intervention and potential costs and benefits of the policy.

Keywords: Diet quality, food labeling, government regulation, health, mandatory

Suggested Citation

Variyam, Jayachandran N., Nutrition Labeling in the Food-Away-From-Home Sector: An Economic Assessment (April 2005). USDA-ERS Economic Research Report No. 4. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=713682 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.713682

Jayachandran N. Variyam (Contact Author)

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) - Economic Research Service (ERS) ( email )

355 E Street, SW
Washington, DC 20024-3221
United States

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