Thursday, May 26, 2016

Member in the News: David Just

A clever tweak to how apples are sold is making everyone eat more of them

Three years ago, a group of researchers at Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab had a hunch. They knew that many of apples being served to kids as part of the National School Lunch Program were ending up in the trash, virtually untouched. But unlike others, they wondered if the reason was more complicated than simply that the kids didn't want the fruit.

Specifically, they thought the fact that the apples were being served whole, rather than sliced, was doing the fruits no favor. And they were on to something.

A pilot study conducted at eight schools found that fruit consumption jumped by more than 60 percent when apples were served sliced. And a follow-up study, conducted at six other schools, not only confirmed the finding, but further strengthened it: Both overall apple consumption and the percentage of students who ate more than half of the apple that was served to them were more than 70 percent higher at schools that served sliced apples.

"It sounds simplistic, but even the simplest forms of inconvenience affect consumption," said David Just, a professor of behavioral economics at Cornell who studies consumer food choices, and one of the study's author. "Sliced apples just make a lot more sense for kids."

The hardest part is getting kids to start eating fruit, to take the first bite, and that's precisely what slicing an apple makes more appealing. A child holding a whole apple has to break the skin, eat around the core, and deal with the hassle of holding a large fruit. That barrier might seem silly or superficial, but Just says it's significant when you're missing teeth or have braces, as so many kids do.

Read the entire article online:

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