Friday, October 15, 2010

Real World Marketing In the Cafeteria

The USDA is giving $2 million to food behavior scientists to find ways to use psychology in hopes of battling obesity and improve kids’ use of the school lunch program, says CBS News.

Small changes borrowed from the food and restaurant marketing world will be used. Some tweaks will be: hiding the chocolate milk behind the plain milk, moving fruits into pretty baskets, keeping ice cream desserts in freezers without glass displays, and putting the salad bars next to the checkout registers.

This new initiative by the USDA will also include the formation of a child nutrition center at Cornell University. Their focus will be in developing “smart lunchrooms” that would guide kids to choose better options even when bad options are around.

This initiative isn’t to take away options and to put healthier counterparts in their places. It’s not forcing them take the better option. It’s to help the kids choose better options on their own.

I think the incorporation of real world marketing in the cafeterias is so clever. One thing I know is I am definitely one of those customers whose eyes happen to investigate the items scattered around the checkout counter and make unneeded impulsive buys. Imagine if kids’ eyes fell upon veggies such as baby carrots or grape tomatoes…

Read more about the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service and Economic Research Service.


Anonymous said...

I think all of these are a terrific idea - but will schools implement them? School nutrition programs have a financial interest in promoting the cheaper, less healthy options over the healthy ones.

OSP said...

I think for now, only certain schools are being used in the research. Hopefully this will prove something positive and then more, and perhaps all, schools will get it on it later!