A low income neighborhood in Baltimore was selected for an interesting behavior test by researchers from Johns Hopkins University. In four corner stores, paper-written signs were put up next to the soft drinks. Then purchase behavior by teens was recorded. The twist -there were three different types of paper signs:
- a typical bottle contains 250 calories
- a bottle contains around 10% of your daily recommended calories
- you’ll need to jog for 50 minutes to burn off the calories in this bottle
Which sign had the most impact on teens’ decisions?
All signs changed the purchase decision. But while the first 2 reduced the purchase of sugary drinks by 40%, the threat of having to run for almost an hour led to a 50% reduction! The study was published in the American Journal of Public Health. More information here and here.
So what did the teens choose instead of soda pop? In some cases – water. But many opted for diet drinks – not an improvement by our standards.
Still, there is hope. Obviously marking the calories in a clearly visible place has an impact on consumers choices. And when done in a creative way, the change can be more meaningful.
So what do you think – Should we add a workout equivalent when presenting Junk Food calories in the Fooducate mobile app?