184 Shop & Eat Healthy

Based on research by Brian Wansink, D. Soman, K. C. Herbst & C. R. Payne written b Mara Rowcliffe, BS

What are some ways to encourage healthy eating?

We’ve all heard the phrase, “healthy eating begins at home,” but what is eaten at home depends upon the food in your refrigerator. However, what’s in your refrigerator depends upon what you put in your shopping cart at the grocery. Recent psychology research examined how to encourage people to purchase healthier food options such as fruits and vegetables.

Participants included 172 grocery store shoppers randomly assigned to use either a normal shopping cart or one that was designed specifically to encourage healthy food choices. Researchers designed shopping carts with yellow duct tape dividing the front section, colorfully labeled “Healthy foods” with examples, from the back half for “everything else.” After shoppers paid for their groceries, the researchers analyzed shoppers’ receipt copies for their purchases.

Results revealed those using the partitioned carts spent more money on fruits and vegetables compared to those using a normal shopping cart except for those who shopped hungry. Using the specially designed cart that suggested better nutrition encouraged shoppers to consider purchasing food for a balanced healthy diet.

Next time you grocery shop, don’t shop hungry and leave the front section of your cart for healthy food choices!

Wansink, B., Soman, D., Herbst, K. C., & Payne, C. R. (2014). Partitioned shopping carts: assortment allocation cues that increase fruit and vegetable purchases. Available at SSRN.

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