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Placing nutritious items in eye-level, convenient locations can significantly impact sales of healthy food items in school meal programs without sacrificing overall lunchroom profit.
In one middle school, Cornell researcher Laura Smith, and Smarter Lunchrooms Movement Co-Founders David Just, PhD, and Brian Wansink, PhD set out to make the salad bar more noticeable and convenient to students. In doing so, they increased salad sales by 300-400% compared to year-to-date figures without decreasing overall lunchroom sales.
Initially, the salad bar was located along a lunchroom wall, away from the flow of student traffic. The researchers relocated it to a position perpendicular to the cash registers, so that students walked right by it before paying.
“When kids feel as though the choice is being made for them, they may rebel or even stop buying lunch altogether,” advises Wansink, “Place the salad bar in an unavoidable location and they’ll think piling their plate with veggies was their idea.”
For more information about the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement, visit: smarterlunchrooms.org
• Download paper from the SSRN (the Social Science Research Network)
Laura Smith, David Just, and Brian Wansink (2010). Convenience Drives Choice in School Lunch Rooms: A Salad Bar Success Story. The FASEB Journal, 24(1) Supplement.
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