Target: Collin R. Payne and Mihai Niculescu
Goal: Commend social scientists for finding new ways to get shoppers to buy healthier options.
Two social scientists, Collin R. Payne and Mihai Niculescu, are laying the groundwork for great strides in changing the eating habits of Americans. In recent experiments, they have discovered ways to increase produce sales at grocery stores by up to 55% and steer 9 out of 10 people into the produce aisle. Best of all, they have achieved this by subtly nudging shoppers toward healthier options rather than bombarding them with guilt-laden facts about junk food. These two men could be the start of getting America’s diet back on track, and should be commended for their innovative ideas.
Payne and Niculescu have conducted multiple experiments in different states across the country that are simple but clever in nature. In one that divided customers’ carts in half with duct tape and had flyers instructing them to put their fruit and vegetables in the front half of the cart, average produce sales per customer went up from $3.99 to $8.85. Another experiment hung mirror-like placards from the inside of the cart stating how much produce the average customer buys per visit and which fruits and vegetables are the best sellers. By sharing that information conveying a social norm, produce sales overall went up 10% by the following week.
Each experiment is more or less a psychological nudge in the right direction, and are meant to equal out the playing field opposite processed food companies and their sneaky grocery store tactics to get us to buy their products and more of them. Despite their simplicity, these social experiments could be the budding of a hugely successful marketing campaign to redirect our country’s health habits. This is great material for those concerned with obesity and diabetes.
These scientists are conducting experiments that address public health concerns in a subtle and effective way. Commend them for opening the doors to new grocery store tactics and healthier eating habits.
Dear Mr. Payne and Mr. Niculescu,
The social experiments you are conducting with the goal of increasing consumption of fruits and vegetables are to be commended. Your work combats the psychology implemented by processed food companies in an effort to overcome it and make healthier choices.
Although the experiments you have conducted are seemingly simple, they are extremely clever and effective. The results produced so far are impressive and promising. The groundwork you are laying could have a striking impact on our nation’s health in the future. Thank you for your concern for our health and safety, and especially for the work you are doing to figure out ways to help us forge better eating habits.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: greggavedon.com via Flickr