The Word Healthy Seems To Turn Off People
April 17, 2016
University of Minnesota researchers say that people are more likely to purchase a healthy food if it is labeled with a symbol suggesting it is healthy, as opposed to having the actual word healthy on it.
Lead researcher Dr. Traci Mann of the University of Minnesota, had this to say:
“The word ‘healthy’ seems to turn people off, particularly when it appears on foods that are obviously healthy. The subtle health message, such as the healthy heart symbol, seemed to be more effective at leading people to choose a healthy option.”
One of Mann’s studies involved 400 adults in a lab setting, where 65% of the participants took an apple instead of candy if there was a heart symbol on it. Only 45% of adults chose an apple if the fruit was labeled with the word healthy.
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In another study involving 300 adults and carrots, Mann and her colleagues found just 20% of participants chose carrots over chips when the carrots had healthy on them. But when the carrots were labeled with a heart symbol, 30% of the adults chose them over candy.
The researchers also took their experiments to elementary school cafeterias. They found children were 4 times more likely to eat broccoli or red peppers if the vegetables were served first. The students were far less likely to choose the vegetables when they were served alongside other food offerings. The team got the same results when they tried the experiment in a lab setting and offered various snack foods alongside veggies.