We use a combination of randomized field experiments and online surveys to test how the menu design affects food choices and food waste. In our field experiment, participants face one of two menus: a narrow menu that only displays a small portion of food, or a broad menu that also contains bigger portions. While all options are equally available in both menus, they differ in how easy and fast the different choices can be made. Our results show that, compared to the broad menu, participants in the narrow menu ordered smaller portions of food. Importantly, food intake was similar across conditions, leading to significant food waste reduction under the narrow menu. Our online survey suggest that these results are consistent with a combination of anchoring and menu-dependent self-control theories. We discuss the implication of our results to menu design in real world settings.
Liu, H., Gómez-Miñambres, J., & Qi, D. (2020). Menu-dependent food choices and food waste. ESI Working Paper 20-37. https://digitalcommons.chapman.edu/esi_working_papers/332/