Date of Award

Winter 2007

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Business Administration-Marketing

Committee Director

Mahesh Gopinath

Committee Member

Anusorn Singhapakdi

Committee Member

Joan Mann


As the number of Americans diagnosed with heart disease, diabetes, and excessive weight continues to increase, providing information to allow consumers to choose healthier foods becomes imperative. The number of consumers eating food away from home (EFAH) is rising. Although nutrition information is required on food products purchased for home use, it is not required when EFAH. How can a consumer know what is healthy if nutrition information is not provided? Policy makers and restaurateurs are in conflict regarding the provision of nutrition information on the menu. Policy makers want this information to be provided while restaurateurs say providing this information is too costly and consumers do not request it. This research seeks to determine whether or not consumers would use nutrition information to make a healthier menu selection when EFAH.

To date, no research has been conducted offering nutrition information at the time of ordering the meal to determine the effect this nutrition information has on menu selection. This dissertation contributes to the literature by experimentally manipulating nutrition information availability, occasion for eating food away from home, meal time, and the healthiness of the dining companion's meal during the menu selection process and then investigating the healthiness of the consumer's menu selection. This dissertation develops and utilizes a healthiness quotient in order to assess the healthiness of each menu item. Differences in consumer characteristics and healthiness of the menu selections will be analyzed using multivariate analysis techniques.

A total of 71, 277, and 185 consumers were surveyed in Study 1, Study 2 and Study 3, respectively. Results indicate that consumers with high levels of perceived nutrition knowledge, health consciousness, self-efficacy, goal directed behavior, and engagement in health prevention measures not only select healthier menu items when EFAH, but use the available nutrition information to select even healthier menu items when EFAH. Risk perception and consumer decision making styles did not appear to be useful determinants in the selection of healthy menu choices. The consumer's ability to understand the nutrition information appears to influence its use. Study limitations and directions for future research are also presented.