Seeking to help consumers make healthier decisions, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) mandated in 2010 the direct posting of calorie information on menus. Research, however, consistently demonstrates this mandate to not be as effective as intended despite required compliance in 2018. In response, the present research proposes a social marketing technique that leverages provincial norms (i.e., norms that are specific to consumption contexts) to nudge consumers toward healthier decisions. Across one field and two laboratory experiments, exposure to low-calorie provincial norms consistently reduced calorie totals (relative to both a descriptive and no-norm control condition). This reduced calorie total stemmed from a heightened motivation to align with the norm and did not undermine satisfaction, facilitate overindulgence on subsequent choices, or heighten guilt. Collectively, these findings offer an important means of increasing the efficacy of the FDA mandate while providing unique insight into how provincial norms nudge consumers toward healthier decision making.


No posts