WANT PEOPLE TO EAT THEIR VEGGIES? GIVE THEM UNHEALTHY NAMES
A SRE WE all petulant toddlers who need to be tricked into eating our vegetables? One recent Stanford study says: Yes, yes we are. tanford psychology researchers found that people were more likely to eat vegetables when they had “the flavourful, exciting, and indulgent descriptors typically reserved for less healthy foods”.
Here’s how they studied it. Each day in a Stanford University dining hall, one vegetable dish was labelled randomly in one of four ways: Basic (“Green beans”), healthy restrictive (“Light ‘n’ low-carb green beans and shallots”), healthy positive (“Healthy energy-boosting green beans and shallots”), or indulgent (“Sweet sizzlin’ green beans and crispy shallots”).
The dish was prepared exactly the same each time, regardless of how it was labelled.
Research assistants counted the number of people who selected that vegetable every day.
It will not surprise you to learn that the more unhealthy the vegetables sounded, the more likely people were to eat them.
Researchers found that 25% more people chose the indulgently named vegetable compared to the basic one.
The differences were even more stark with the health-based language: 41% more chose the indulgent vegetable compared to the healthy restrictive one, and 35% more chose indulgent vs healthy positive.
Also: “Labelling vegetables indulgently resulted in a 23% increase in mass of vegetables consumed compared with the basic condition, and a 33% increase in mass of vegetables consumed compared with the healthy restrictive condition.”
But let’s get back to the names of these dishes that encouraged college students to eat vegetables. They include: “dynamite chilli and tangy lime-seasoned beets”, “twisted garlic-ginger butternut squash wedges”, “rich buttery roasted sweet corn” and “slow-roasted caramelised zucchini bites”.
Basically, if we want people to eat their vegetables, this study says we need to name every vegetarian dish as if we’re Guy Fieri.
Roasted cauliflower? No, it’s “AllStar Fire-Roasted Cool Cauliflower Bombs”. Asparagus? Nope, try some “Flamin’ Ace Asparagus with Donkey Sauce Drizzle”. Just call celery sticks “Rock ‘n’ Roll Crispy Fingers”.
You’ll know you named it well if you can read it in the voice of a Carl’s Jr commercial and feel ashamed.
– The Washington Post
Similar to children, people can be tricked into eating vegetables by giving the veggies ‘indulgent’ names.