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School Meals Experiment: Can a Taste Test Increase Vegetable Acceptance?

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  • Newman, Constance
  • Guthrie, Joanne
  • Mancino, Lisa
  • Snelling, Anastasia

Abstract

As of fall 2012, school food services have needed to provide vegetables in greater quantities and diversity to fulfill new USDA requirements for the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) and School Breakfast Program (SBP). This paper summarizes the results of a set of experiments conducted in four DC public schools that provided taste tests of new vegetables to NSLP participants. Using a basic difference-in-difference design, the results found that a simple taste test led to higher consumption among students of collard greens, and a more elaborate taste test that allowed students to vote on their favorite style of preparation led to higher consumption of sweet potatoes, a starchy vegetable that was surprisingly unpopular at the beginning of the year. The small numbers of schools included in the study limits the tests somewhat, but the positive and significant results suggest that exposing children to new vegetables, and especially giving them some ownership in how the vegetables are prepared, can lead to more children eating new vegetables.

Suggested Citation

  • Newman, Constance & Guthrie, Joanne & Mancino, Lisa & Snelling, Anastasia, 2013. "School Meals Experiment: Can a Taste Test Increase Vegetable Acceptance?," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150504, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea13:150504
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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/150504
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Just, David R. & Mancino, Lisa & Wansink, Brian, 2007. "Could Behavioral Economics Help Improve Diet Quality for Nutrition Assistance Program Participants?," Economic Research Report 6391, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    2. Diane Whitmore Schanzenbach, 2009. "Do School Lunches Contribute to Childhood Obesity?," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 44(3).
    3. Mancino, Lisa & Guthrie, Joanne F., 2009. "When Nudging in the Lunch Line Might Be a Good Thing," Amber Waves, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, March.
    4. Benjamin L. Campbell & Rodolfo M. Nayga & John L. Park & Andres Silva, 2011. "Does the National School Lunch Program Improve Children's Dietary Outcomes?," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 93(4), pages 1099-1130.
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    Cited by:

    1. Thapa, Janani R. & Lyford, Conrad P., 2014. "Behavioral Economics in the School Lunchroom: Can it Affect Food Supplier Decisions? A Systematic Review," International Food and Agribusiness Management Review, International Food and Agribusiness Management Association (IFAMA), vol. 17(A).

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Agricultural and Food Policy; Crop Production/Industries; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; Public Economics;

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