New federal regulations that require chain restaurants to post calorie counts are torturing the pizza business, where choice drives a bewildering array of outcomes:
"With 34 million ways to make a pizza, it makes no common sense to require this industry—which already discloses calories voluntarily, for the most part—to attempt to cram this information on menu boards in small storefronts,” says Lynn Liddle, who chairs the American Pizza Community, a coalition representing much of the American pizza industry, in an email to me.The big chains post dynamic ranges of calorie content on their web sites (Domino's, for example), but nobody knows how to provide meaningful data on a poster in the store itself. And, anyway, who buys chain pizza by walking in to the store?
To put that number of pizza choices in perspective, consider that nearly every single person living in Canada today could order an entirely different pizza from Domino’s—where the chain is also popular.
The source of this new regulation? Obamacare. You decide whether that is a bug or a feature. Regardless, obesity seems to be far more a function of one's own social milieu than calorie information, insofar as it has existed on all the junk food sold in grocery stores for two generations. This seems totally obvious for those of us who occasionally socialize across socioeconomic lines, but there is actual social science to back it up. Shame among one's friends might be a more powerful force for caloric restraint than a poster on the wall in a storefront nobody walks in to, but since the government is far more willing to coerce than to promote judging, we hold out little hope for real progress.
CWCID: The Friday morning linkfest at Maggie's Farm.