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A combination meal, often referred as a combo-meal, is a type of meal that typically includes food items and a beverage. They are a common menu item at fast food restaurants, and other restaurants also purvey them. Combination meals may be priced lower compared to ordering items separately, but this is not always the case. A combination meal is also a meal in which the consumer orders items à la carte to create their own meal combination.
The casada is a common type of lunch combination meal in Costa Rica and Panama.
Fast food combination meals typically include an entree such as a hamburger, a side dish such as fries, and a beverage such as a soft drink. Other types of restaurants, such as fast-casual restaurants also offer combination meals.
Combination meals may be priced lower compared to ordering the items separately, and this lower pricing may serve to entice consumers that are budget-minded. A 2010 study published in the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing found that some consumers may order a combination meal even if no price discount is applied compared to the price of ordering items separately. The study found that this behavior is based upon consumers perceiving an inherent value in combination meals, and also suggested that the ease and convenience of ordering, such as ordering a meal by number, plays a role compared to ordering items separately. This study also found that the presence of combination meals encourages consumers to increase meal portion size by supersizing their meals.
A combination meal can also comprise a meal in which separate dishes are selected by consumers from an entire menu, and can include à la carte selections that are combined on a plate. A fast food combination meal can contain over 1,300 calories (5,400 kJ). Fast food restaurants sometimes offer a means to order larger portions of food within the format of the combination meal, such as supersizing.
In Latin America
In Costa Rican and Panamanian cuisine, a combination meal is referred to as a casado, which means "married". It is a typical lunch dish in both countries. In Costa Rica, a casado typically consists of a meat dish, rice and beans, and deli salads. Additional foods comprising the Costa Rican casado can include fried plantain, noodles and tomatoes. In Costa Rica, the term plato del día (plate of the day) is frequently used interchangeably with the term casado.
In Panama, a casado typically consists of an entree, rice and beans, and cabbage. In Panama, the plato executive, which means "executive plate", is a prix fixe (fixed price) lunch menu offered in some upscale restaurants that is similar in concept to the casado.
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