Researchers from Stanford University found a clever psychological trick to convince people to eat more vegetables. They discovered that, if they give veggie plates sophisticated names, people are more likely to want to pick them up instead of exactly the same plate with a simple name.
Experiment in a cafeteria
Let’s take, for instance, twisted citrus-glazed carrots. A food with such labeling turned out more popular than exactly the same plate presented under a simpler and more healthy-sounding denomination. People are not appealed by foods described as low sodium, low fat, or sugar free.
Last fall, Stanford researchers devised an experiment in a university cafeteria, where they put both sophisticated and simple labels on food. They noticed how people chose the fancy-name food over the one with healthy names and, besides, they asked for larger portions than usual.
People may think that advertising food as healthy might determine people to eat it. However, it turns out it could have the opposite effect. Results showed that people thought healthy food was less tasty, while a nice presentation made it look more appealing.
Vegetables with fancy names sound tastier
This method can be applied to convince people to eat healthier food, and help decrease the obesity rate in the country. Therefore, it can be applied in cafeterias, restaurants, and stores, and ‘trick’ people into choosing a healthier option and making it sound tastier.
The experiment lasted for 46 days, and researchers alternated the appealing names for vegetables with regular, healthy-sounding names. From all 28,000 people who visited the cafeteria during the experiment, around one-third of them chose a veggie plate. Almost 220 people on average chose the tasty option, while the healthy one was less popular, with only 175 people on average.
People were not tricked with false names just to buy vegetables. The labels were accurate, they just described the foods in fancier terms. Thus, researchers showed how people could be easily convinced by a label to make healthier food options, even if they are not aware of it.
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