Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Nutritional Knowledge Improves Lunch Lady Image

Date:
July 17, 2006
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
Providing nutritional information with high school cafeteria lunch choices not only helps students to make better food choices, but also improves the students' satisfaction with school lunch programs and dining room staff, according to a Penn State study. Unfortunately, the additional information does not improve opinions about dining ambiance or cost.

Providing nutritional information with high school cafeteria lunch choices not only helps students to make better food choices, but also improves the students' satisfaction with school lunch programs and dining room staff, according to a Penn State study. Unfortunately, the additional information does not improve opinions about dining ambiance or cost.

"Findings from this study illustrate the value of informed choice in yielding greater customer satisfaction with dining occasions," the researchers report in the current issue of the Journal of Child Nutrition and Management. "Providing nutrition information at the point of service increased the student ratings of school nutrition programs that already were rated above average, especially in food quality."

While the researchers -- David Cranage, associate professor of hospitality management, Martha T. Conklin, associate professor of hospitality management and Carolyn U. Lambert, associate professor of food systems management, all in Penn State's School of Hospitality Management -- agree that more research is necessary to expand their findings outside the northeastern United States, they note that their findings mirror previous studies with adults.

The study looked at six schools in four school districts in Pennsylvania. In those districts where there were two high schools, one school was designated a control and the researchers asked the cafeteria personnel to do nothing unusual. In the other schools, the food services posted information, in the standard U.S. Food and Drug Administration's style for Nutrition Facts Labels found on all packaged foods, at the point where students had to choose between entrees. No other changes in food service were made from the previous six weeks.

Before the study began, students were asked to fill out a survey assessing their satisfaction level with the school nutrition program. After six weeks of nutrition information, the students were again given the survey assessing their satisfaction level with the school nutrition program.

A previous paper by the researchers showed that the nutrition information did, in fact, improve the healthy choices made by students.

The satisfaction survey showed that the student were also more satisfied with food quality and service quality. Even though the food did not change and one would expect the students' satisfaction with the cafeteria food to deteriorate over time and repetition, the survey found that "the students consistently rated appearance and quality of food higher."

In the control schools, the overall satisfaction with the food and service decreased.

The researchers also found that providing point of service nutritional information seemed to increase satisfaction with the service of the food, especially with the friendliness ratings of the foodservice staff, even though the staff was not supposed to change anything and was not to refer to the nutritional information signs.

"Giving students both choice and the information to help make the choice, gives students feelings of empowerment and self-determination," says Cranage. "This makes them feel good about the foodservice staff who supplied the choice and information." The Penn State researchers do report that "nutrition information is not a panacea that creates a halo effect over the entire school nutrition program . . . nutrition information had no effect on student ratings of pricing, dining room ambiance or perceptions of menu variety." They note that this was expected as nutrition information would not influence perceptions of noise, temperature or cleanliness.

While gender and frequency of participation did not influence students' ratings, satisfaction with overall foodservice and food quality dropped with increasing grade level. Ninth graders' ratings were higher than seniors' ratings. However, the ratings of service personnel actually increased with increasing grade level.

The researchers caution that the period of study was only six weeks and that students may become desensitized to the point of service nutritional information.

The Child Nutrition Foundation's Lincoln Foodservice Grant for Innovations in School Foodservice funded a portion of this research.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Penn State. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Penn State. "Nutritional Knowledge Improves Lunch Lady Image." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 July 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/07/060717221238.htm>.
Penn State. (2006, July 17). Nutritional Knowledge Improves Lunch Lady Image. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/07/060717221238.htm
Penn State. "Nutritional Knowledge Improves Lunch Lady Image." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/07/060717221238.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Could Even Casual Marijuana Use Alter Your Brain?

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A new study conducted by researchers at Northwestern and Harvard suggests even casual marijuana use can alter your brain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Thousands Of Vials Of SARS Virus Go Missing

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) A research institute in Paris somehow misplaced more than 2,000 vials of the deadly SARS virus. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Formerly Conjoined Twins Released From Dallas Hospital

Newsy (Apr. 16, 2014) Conjoined twins Emmett and Owen Ezell were separated by doctors in August. Now, nearly nine months later, they're being released from the hospital. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Ebola Outbreak Now Linked To 121 Deaths

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) The ebola virus outbreak in West Africa is now linked to 121 deaths. Health officials fear the virus will continue to spread in urban areas. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins