The Hannaford Brothers Company grocery store chain in Maine tried putting stars on foods (the more stars the better the food) to steer customers toward healthier food choices. Given better information about the health benefits of foods while in grocery stores customers will select healthier meats but won't buy more vegetables.
After analyzing a year’s worth of sales data, Hannaford found that customers tended to buy leaner cuts of meat. Sales of ground beef with stars on their labels increased 7 percent, and sales of chicken that had a star rating rose 5 percent. Sales of ground beef labeled with no stars dropped by 5 percent, while sales of chicken that had a zero-star rating declined 3 percent. Similarly, sales of whole milk, which received no stars, declined by 4 percent, while sales of fat-free milk (three stars) increased 1 percent. Sales of fruits and vegetables, however, remained about the same as they did before the ratings were introduced. All fresh produce received stars.
People ask me to write a post describing the ideal diet. Well, the best thing you can do to improve your health is to eat lots more vegetables and fruits and less of just about everything else. But people want fats and red meat and starchy foods. They don't want vegetables. This latest result demonstrates this basic problem with the human diet. We have food instincts that are aimed at ensuring survival in environments where food is in short supply. So our instincts lead us to eat foods which are far from optimal for us today.
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2007 September 07 12:38 AM Aging Diet Studies|