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Behavioral Economic Concepts To Encourage Healthy Eating in School Cafeterias: Experiments and Lessons From College Students

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  • Just, David R.
  • Wansink, Brian
  • Mancino, Lisa
  • Guthrie, Joanne F.

Abstract

Changing small factors that influence consumer choice may lead to healthier eating within controlled settings, such as school cafeterias. This report describes a behavioral experiment in a college cafeteria to assess the effects of various payment options and menu selection methods on food choices. The results indicate that payment options, such as cash or debit cards, can significantly affect food choices. College students using a card that prepaid only for healthful foods made more nutritious choices than students using either cash or general debit cards. How and when individuals select their food can also influence food choices. College students who preselected their meals from a menu board made significantly different food choices than students who ordered their meals while viewing the foods in line.

Suggested Citation

  • Just, David R. & Wansink, Brian & Mancino, Lisa & Guthrie, Joanne F., 2008. "Behavioral Economic Concepts To Encourage Healthy Eating in School Cafeterias: Experiments and Lessons From College Students," Economic Research Report 56489, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:uersrr:56489
    DOI: 10.22004/ag.econ.56489
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Chiara Lombardini & Leena Lankoski, 2013. "Forced Choice Restriction in Promoting Sustainable Food Consumption: Intended and Unintended Effects of the Mandatory Vegetarian Day in Helsinki Schools," Journal of Consumer Policy, Springer, vol. 36(2), pages 159-178, June.
    2. Emily Lancsar & Jemimah Ride & Nicole Black & Leonie Burgess & Anna Peeters, 2022. "Social acceptability of standard and behavioral economic inspired policies designed to reduce and prevent obesity," Health Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 31(1), pages 197-214, January.
    3. Lombardini, Chiara & Lankoski, Leena, 2011. "An Economic-Psychological Model of Sustainable Food Consumption," 2011 International Congress, August 30-September 2, 2011, Zurich, Switzerland 114403, European Association of Agricultural Economists.
    4. Pham, Matthew V. & Roe, Brian E., 2013. "Will Reducing the Calorie Content of School Lunches Affect Participation? Evidence from a Choice Experiment with Suburban Parents," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 149816, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    5. Laiou, Elpiniki & Rapti, Iro & Schwarzer, Ralf & Fleig, Lena & Cianferotti, Luisella & Ngo, Joy & Rizos, Evangelos C. & Wetle, Terrie Fox & Kahlmeier, Sonja & Vigilanza, Antonella & Tsilidis, Konstant, 2021. "Review: Nudge interventions to promote healthy diets and physical activity," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 102(C).
    6. Kang, Myong-Il & Ikeda, Shinsuke, 2016. "Time discounting, present biases, and health-related behaviors: Evidence from Japan," Economics & Human Biology, Elsevier, vol. 21(C), pages 122-136.
    7. Georgia S. Papoutsi & Andreas C. Drichoutis & Rodolfo M. Nayga Jr., 2013. "The Causes Of Childhood Obesity: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(4), pages 743-767, September.
    8. Norbert Wilson, 2016. "When the Cupboards Are Bare: Nudging Food Pantry Clients to Healthier Foods," Journal of the Association for Consumer Research, University of Chicago Press, vol. 1(1), pages 125-133.
    9. Keane, Christopher R. & Lafky, Jonathan M. & Board, Oliver J., 2012. "Altruism, reciprocity and health: A social experiment in restaurant choice," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 143-150.
    10. Lombardini-Riipinen, Chiara & Lankoski, Leena, 2010. "Take off the heater: Utility effect and food environment effect in food consumption decisions," 115th Joint EAAE/AAEA Seminar, September 15-17, 2010, Freising-Weihenstephan, Germany 116431, European Association of Agricultural Economists.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Agricultural and Food Policy; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; Health Economics and Policy; Institutional and Behavioral Economics; Teaching/Communication/Extension/Profession;
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