Cornell University Fighting Childhood Obesity with Better Marketing

Marketers have mastered the art of generating impulse purchases at grocery stores. Customers waiting in line find tantalizing candy and other treats within their reach. 

Dr. David Just is applying these principles to school cafeteria lines. To entice children to eat more fruit, produce is removed from the “servings” area and placed by the cash register. While waiting in line, students were more likely to grab an apple. This simple approach more than doubles their fruit consumption. 

“Behavioral science doesn’t just work for unhealthy foods; the same tools can be used to get kids to make healthy choices.”

 – David Just, PhD 

In another example, researchers set white milk in front of chocolate milk. When kids have to reach three more inches for chocolate, an additional one-quarter of kids take the lower-calorie option. Even rebranding mundane items can make a big difference. When foods become “X-ray Vision Carrots” and “The Big Bad Bean Burrito,” school vegetable sales nearly double.

These approaches are more effective than having cafeteria workers place healthy foods on the kids’ trays, or other methods where kids play a passive role. Making it easier and more fun

Retaking The Field Volume 1 “Retaking the Field: The Case for a Surge in Agricultural Research” is a collaborative report from 13 partnering universities and the SoAR Foundation. The report provides a compelling case to policymakers and the public for increased federal agricultural research funding by celebrating the advances and exploring the untapped potential of the agriculture and food sciences. View The Issue
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