There was a recent study by Cornell University's Food and Brand Lab in which researchers analyzed 112 studies that gathered together information about healthy eating behaviors and habits. The researchers discovered that most healthy eaters actively participated in these healthy eating behaviors because a public place such as a restaurant, grocery store, school cafeteria, or even a spouse made healthy foods like fruits and vegetables visible and easy to reach, displayed enticingly, and appear as if it is an obvious choice. At the end of the research, it was concluded by Cornell that, if these concepts or the mentality was put into play then many more people would be more able and more likely to lead healthier lifestyles and stick to them. The concept of making healthy foods look convenient, attractive, and normal is surprisingly not that hard to do; it only requires a few key efforts; all they have to do is follow the acronym C.A.N. – convenient, attractive, normal.
Making Foods Visible and Easy to Reach (Convenient)
What comes to mind when you think of the word "convenient?" What's convenient to you? Ordering items online, items being on display right next to the cash register, or maybe being able to grab something quickly without having to dig through your cabinet or refrigerator? What if healthier options were more convenient for us? We could easily order healthy items online for cheap, have healthy granola bars and fruit next to the cash register, or grab a fruit out of a bowl on our way out the door. All it takes it a little effort from us to make it easier for us to obtain!
When it comes to convenience, simple things like putting a bowl of fruit next to your car keys, or placing fruits or vegetables near the checkout makes these items more convenient to grab and buy. These items being strategically placed makes the healthier options seem easier and more feasible to pick up rather than venturing back into your kitchen cabinet or going back around the store in search of junk foods.
Displayed Enticingly (Attractive)
Attraction is all about perception. No one wants to see dirty, rotting, or greasy items on display – it's disgusting and it will never sell! Making something attractive, especially when it is something health-related, takes work. But making these foods or items attractive to the average consumer can be done using four elements: name, appearance, price, and expectation. Name is super important because it is the way in which people will remember the food or product. No one wants to have an unattractive product, so prime appearance is necessary. Not everyone can pay tons of money for health-related items, so being able to make your product as cheap as possible will determine how people will migrate towards it as well. And lastly, expectation – if people know that this product is not good or does not do what it say, why would they buy it? The proof has to be in the pudding!
Making healthier options look attractive also isn't that hard. Before we taste we see, and this is a vital idea when it comes to attracting consumers to a product; the same rule applies to persuading people to choose healthier options. When you are at the grocery store, preparing an attractive display for the fruits and vegetables to be not only an attention-grabber for consumers, but it also makes them more likely to purchase the foods. Even cafeterias can do this by mounting posters of people eating fruits and vegetables, making healthy eating look more popular and cool.
Appear to be the Obvious Choice (Normal)
Making a healthier option food normal means to make it seem as if one would be crazy to not take advantage of that particular option. Make it such a normality that people will feel strange if it suddenly is no longer there or available to them. Make it a regular practice to always have some sort of fruit, vegetable, or other healthy snack in your kitchen. Doing this will gradually get you accustomed to eating these types of foods so much to the point that if you find a bag of chips in the cabinet, you will not have a desire to eat them like you used to. Making food choices normal could also work for restaurants by adding healthier ingredients to the dishes they already serve. By letting the customers know about the change, showing them the nutritional differences, and allowing the taste to still be there will make the transition be smooth and the change be very normal and attractive.
Another great method of persuasion is to make the healthier option seem like the normal, most obvious choice. Restaurants who highlight the healthier option on the menu and have their waitresses point a healthy dish out as a special make the dish seem both normal and in demand, persuading the customer to at least consider ordering the dish. Stores can highlight where the healthier options are located, making the normalcy of healthy eating become even more attractive and compelling to consumers.