As shown in a new study from the Cornell Food & Brand Lab, shoppers will buy 25% more fruits and vegetables when they consume one apple upon entering the grocery store.
“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,” said Aner Tal, the PhD of Cornell.
The participants were given one apple, a cookie or nothing at all as they arrived at the grocery shop, randomly. The purchased items by the participants were tracked by the researchers and they have found out that those who had eaten an apple bought 28% more fruits and vegetables than those who had consumed a cookie and 25% more fruits and vegetables than those who were given nothing at all.
In the second experiment, there were 56 participants who received either a real cookie or a real apple to be eaten by them. There were also 20 images shown to them in which each comprises two products each. The participants were asked to choose which one they would want to buy. All images have been highlighted with one healthy product and one unhealthy product. In the study, the calorie count was considered as the distinguishing factor. The outcome of the said test and the first one were alike which revealed that the cookie consumers opted for an unequal amount of unhealthy products.
At this instant, the researchers desired to know whether grocery shopping could be influenced by framing a food item as healthy or non-healthy. The 59 participants of the study were randomly distributed into three groups for the experiment. The researchers studied the controversial practice of promoting foods as healthy although the healthiness of that food is either offset by high sugar or absent entirely.
The first group received chocolate milk labeled with “healthy, wholesome chocolate milk,” the second group received the same drink labeled with “rich, indulgent chocolate milk” while the participants in the third group were not given any chocolate milk. They were all asked to do a virtual shopping task wherein they would choose either healthy or unhealthy foods. The researchers discovered that the first group made healthier choices during the virtual grocery shopping exercise.
According to the study, the perceived healthfulness influences the shoppers rather than the actual healthfulness. The researchers have recommended taking in a small, healthy food just before going to the grocery store is what the researchers recommend to reduce hunger and to guide you in the right direction towards making healthy choices.
The said study was published on Wednesday in the journal titled Psychology and Marketing along with another study by Dr. Wansink who told that getting the hang on choosing healthy foods depends on their convenient, well-presented and seeming like the natural choice.