Fast food chains like McDonald’s to higher end cafes and bistros, the information is now at your fingertips. Although the detailed signage was meant to educate diners and encourage them to make healthier choices, it’s backfiring. When nutritious foods are described in language similar to indulgent menu items, diners are more than happy to dig in.
A Vegetable by Any Other Name Would Taste As Sweet
In a study published by JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers launched a study in a college cafeteria to discover how food descriptions swayed consumers towards or away from healthy choices.
The preparation of the vegetables remained the same throughout the study, each day they were served, the researchers adjusted the labels on the vegetable dishes between basic (ex. “sweet potatoes”), a description that highlighted its health properties (“vitamin-rich sweet potatoes”), or a description detailing its flavour or other characteristic (“zesty baked sweet potato wedges”). Giving the veggie a sexier description triggered 25 percent more people to choose it over the bland name. The gap widened in a choice between the luxurious label and the health-positive “wholesome sweet potato superfood.”