Eat an apple pre-shopping to buy healthier foods

Washington: A new study has suggested that an apple a day brings more apples your way.

Cornell researchers Aner Tal and Brian Wansink found that shoppers can be primed to buy more produce when they eat a healthy item before shopping and that individuals who ate an apple sample before shopping bought 25 % more fruits and vegetables than those who did not eat a sample.

Tal and Wansink conducted three studies to test their hypothesis that healthy snacks prime shoppers to make healthier food selections. In the first study, 120 shoppers were randomly given an apple sample, a cookie sample or no sample at the start of their shopping trip.

The researchers then tracked their purchases and found that those who were given the apple sample bought 28 % more fruits and vegetables than those given a cookie sample and 25 % more fruits and vegetables than those given no sample.

Tal explained that having a small healthy snack before shopping can put people in a healthier mindset and steer them towards making better food choices.

In study two 56 participants were given an actual cookie or apple sample then asked to imagine they were grocery shopping and were then shown 20 product pairs and directed to select which one they would purchase.

Each pair contained one healthy (low-calorie) item and one unhealthy (high-calorie) item. Those who ate the apple opted for healthier items. Interestingly, those who ate a cookie opted for a greater amount of less healthy items.

This finding indicates that what influences shoppers behaviour after consuming a sample is not the actual healthfulness of the sample but it’s perceived healthfulness.

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