Consuming an apple before entering a grocery store lead shoppers to buy 25 % more fruits and vegetables compared to those who do not, this according to a new study conducted by the Cornell Food & Brand Lab. And you save a lot on junk foods by the way.
“What this teaches us, is that having a small healthy snack before shopping can put us in a healthier mindset and steer us towards making better food choices,” says Aner Tal, PhD of Cornell.
The subjects were given a cookie, an apple or nothing at all, randomly, as they arrived at the grocery store.
Keeping track of their purchases, the researchers were able to conclude that those who had consumed an apple bought 28% more fruits and vegetables as compared to those who had consumed a cookie and 25% more fruits and vegetables than those individuals who were not given a snack.
During a second experiment conducted, 56 participants were given either a cookie or an apple to eat and were then shown 20 images that contain two products each.
With calorie count as the distinguishing factor, they were asked to select an item they wish to procure and each picture featured a healthy item and an unhealthy one.
Results yielded a similarity to the first experiment, with the cookie eaters prone choosing a hefty number of unhealthy items
Then the researchers wanted to find out if packaging a food item as healthy or not can influence shopping choices.
Dividing randomly the 59 participants into three groups, they tested the controversial marketing ploy of promoting foods as healthy when, as a matter of fact, the healthiness of that certain food product is either absent entirely or offset by high levels of sugar.
The 1st random group was given a chocolate milk labeled “healthy, wholesome chocolate milk,” the 2nd was given the same beverage labeled “rich, indulgent chocolate milk” and the 3rd group received no chocolate milk at all.
The participants were requested to perform a virtual shopping spree, with a choice between healthy or unhealthy foods.
People who were given chocolate milk labeled healthy and wholesome made healthier choices all throughout the virtual shopping exercise.
According to the study, an influential factor for shoppers is the perceived healthiness, instead of the actual healthiness.
It is therefore recommended to shoppers, by the researchers to eat a small, healthy snack before going to the grocery store in order to lessen hunger pangs and steer shoppers to the right direction when it comes to making healthy choices grocery shopping.
The study, which was published in the journal Psychology and Marketing, Wednesday by Dr. Wansink, contends that getting hooked on health foods depends on factors like convenience and wellness of presentation.