Promote healthy snacks with location, presentation

June 9, 2010 By Susan Lang, Cornell University
Promote healthy snacks with location, presentation
When apples were moved to an attractive basket and lit with a desk lamp, their sales jumped 54 percent in a school lunchroom, Cornell's Brian Wansink reports.

(PhysOrg.com) -- Promoting healthy snacks can be as easy as moving where they are showcased, says a Cornell expert, who is helping school lunchrooms.

While key words for real estate are location, location, location, for healthy foods, they just may be presentation and location.

Case in point: When apples were moved in a from a metal bin to an attractive basket lit by an ordinary desk lamp closer to the cash register and away from more tempting, less-healthy chips and other packaged snacks, their sales jumped 58 percent.

"The best solution is often the simplest one," said Brian Wansink, Cornell's John S. Dyson Professor of Marketing and director of Cornell's Food and Brand Lab and of Cornell's Smarter Lunchroom initiative. "Rather than penalizing a less choice, we just made the healthier item much more likely to be noticed and chosen."

Wansink presented his findings at the Food for Your Whole Life Health Symposium June 6-7 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City.

The study was part of the Smarter Lunchrooms program -- an effort to design sustainable research-based lunchrooms that subtly guide smarter choices. For example, "making environmental changes that can lead a student to unknowingly make healthier lunch choices without knowing they were 'nudged' in that direction by the way the lunchroom was designed," explains Wansink.

He lists tips and research findings about easy strategies for schools to implement at SmarterLunchrooms.org and offers a free Consumer Camp June 10-11 in Warren Hall.

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