Peters, J. et al.Using healthy defaults in Walt Disney World restaurants to improve nutritional choices

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John C. Peters, Jimikaye Beck Courtney, Jan P. Ingebrigtsen & James O. Hill

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Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, Volume 1, Number 1, pages 93-103

A retrospective study of kids' meals purchased at Walt Disney World was conducted to determine acceptance rates for healthy sides and beverages. Purchase data from all 145 Walt Disney World restaurants were analyzed using a log-linear model and a Poisson regression. Across all restaurants, 47.9 percent and 66.3 percent of guests accepted healthy default sides and beverages, respectively. Acceptance rates of sides and beverages were higher at quick-service restaurants (49.4 percent and 67.8 percent, respectively) compared to table-service restaurants (40.3 percent and 45.6 percent, respectively). The healthy defaults reduced calories (21.4 percent), fat (43.9 percent), and sodium (43.4 percent) for kids' meal sides and beverages. This study contributes by examining the use of kids' meal healthy defaults in quick-service and table-service restaurant formats at the world's largest theme park, a previously unstudied setting, and by providing the largest ever healthy default data set. The results suggest that healthy defaults can shift food and beverage selection patterns toward healthier options.

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