October 11 2012
An expert on food regulations is skeptical that calorie count information for soda vending machines will make a difference in consumer choices.
The move comes ahead of a new regulation that would require restaurant chains and vending machines to post calorie information as early as next year. Some restaurants have been offering calorie count information for months, if not longer, as a means of bringing awareness to obesity.
Still, Julie Gunlock, director of the "Women for Food Freedom" project at the Independent Women's Forum, says calorie count postings do not necessarily work.
“There are a lot of studies on calorie information provided by restaurants, and the evidence is conclusive that people tend to not pay attention -- and when they do, the actual reverse happens," she observes.
"People sometimes order a more high calorie meal. They just sort of throw in the towel because they realize the salad is almost as many calories as the burger."
Though there are fewer studies on vending machines, she finds it easy to assume that calorie count postings will work similarly to the restaurant postings.
The initiative will kick off next year in Chicago and San Antonio.