Public Release:  How smarter school lunchrooms increase fruit sales

Cornell Food & Brand Lab

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IMAGE: Professor Brian Wansink will present findings from Cornell University's Smarter Lunchroom Initiative at the Food for Your Whole Life Health Symposium in New York City on June 6-7. view more

Credit: Jason Koski, Cornell University

ITHACA, N.Y.: How many more apples can a school cafeteria sell if the fruit is displayed in an attractive basket and placed in a well-lit area?

That's the sort of question researchers from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab are exploring as part of their Smarter Lunchrooms Initiative--an effort to discover and share low-cost changes that can be made in lunchrooms to subtly guide smarter food choices.

Led by Professor Brian Wansink, the researchers observed a 58 percent increase in fresh fruit sales at one Upstate New York school simply by moving the fruit from a stainless steel tray and into a basket lit by an ordinary desk lamp.

Wansink will present these findings and others at the Food for Your Whole Life Health Symposium on June 6-7 at the Grand Hyatt in New York City.

"The best solution is often the simplest one," Wansink explained. "Rather than penalizing a less healthy food choice, we just made the healthier item much more likely to be noticed and chosen."

Later in the week, Wansink--along with colleagues David Just and Mitsuru Shimizu--will deliver presentations at a two-day Consumer Camp event on the Cornell University campus on June 10-11.

While Thursday's proceedings are geared toward school nutrition professionals and require pre-registration, Friday's sessions are free and open to the public.

"On Friday, we'll be presenting various studies and sharing strategies people can follow to help combat 'mindless eating.' It's a neat way to wrap up the academic year," Wansink added.

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For more information, or to register for Consumer Camp, contact the Cornell Food and Brand Lab at foodandbrandlab@cornell.edu, or visit http://www.mindlesseating.org/consumer_camp.php

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