When Chefs Move the Fruit

October 5th, 2011 by

Oh the wonders of product placement.  Little known to most consumers, there is a strategic reason for the location of most foods on grocery store shelves, eye level in vending machines, and of course those convenience foods that catch kids’ eyes (and hands) while you’re waiting in the checkout line.  As recently reported, kids are eating high calorie fast food largely out of convenience, but what if apples or oranges were just as easy to grab and go?  A new study discovered even produce can fair better with proper product placement.

Simply putting fruit in a colorful bowl doubled fruit sales in schools, according to the Cornell University study.  Switching up the fruit display resulted in an increase of 104% in fruit sales.  This is just one of the proposed changes through the Smarter Lunchrooms Movement of the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs (BEN).

BEN has gotten backing from the White House to help fight childhood obesity joining forces with Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative and White House chef Sam Kass to work together toward a common goal through the Chef’s Move to Schools program.  This new program will mend the all too common disconnect in school cafes by making traditional lunchtimes healthy and innovative, while also allowing more greater access to BEN center research educational tools.

The BEN center analyzed several school lunchroom layouts and the designs that hindered student’s selection of nutritious foods.  Lunchroom makeovers were easy with low to no cost environmental changes resulting in increased healthy food choices.  The BEN center also works with policy makers and researchers to make important decision impacting healthy food environments nationwide.

While packing healthy school lunches and increasing kids’ fruit and vegetable intake have been hot topics of discussion lately, this study shows you may not have to employ sneaky tactics or master complicated recipes to get your kids to eat healthier.  You can start by simply putting fresh fruit out in a pretty bowl to see what happens.

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