Finger Fruits: Pre-Sliced Fruit in Schools Increases Selection and Intake
Wansink, Brian, David R. Just, Andrew S. Hanks, and Laura E. Smith (2013), “Pre-Sliced Fruit in Schools Increases Selection and Intake,” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 44:5 (May), 477-480.
10 Pages Posted: 29 Jul 2014 Last revised: 29 Apr 2017
Date Written: October 17, 2012
Background: It is often assumed that children avoid fruit in school cafeterias because of higher relative prices and a preference for other foods. Laddering interviews reveal that younger children with small mouths or braces find whole fresh fruit difficult to eat. Older girls avoid it because it is messy and unattractive to eat.
Purpose: To determine if offering pre-sliced fruit would increase the selection and intake of fruit among middle school students.
Design: Three out of six middle schools were randomly given commercial fruit slicers and instructed to use them when students ordered apples. The selection and consumption of sliced apples was compared to selection and consumption of whole apples in control schools.
Setting/Participants: Cafeterias in six public middle schools in Wayne County, New York. All students who ordered a lunch on days when data was collected. Intervention: In the fall semester of 2011, treatment schools were given a standard commercial fruit slicer and instructed to use it when students requested apples. Production and waste measurements were taken by trained researchers.
Main Outcome Measures: Apple and other fruit sales, percentage wasted, and consumed.
Results: Apple sales increased by 41% and consumption increased by 17%.
Conclusions: Using the behavioral economics principle of convenience, this study shows that sliced fruit is more appealing than unsliced fruit, simply due to eating convenience and neatness. Opportunities exist for identifying effective applications of convenience and other environmental changes that promote healthy eating behavior and decrease waste.
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