Marketing MyPyramid: Taking the Dietary Guidelines Home

Leveraging Consumer Psychology for Effective Health Communications, eds. Rajeev Batra, Punam Anand Keller, and Victor Stretcher, Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 319-332, 2011

29 Pages Posted: 19 Mar 2016

Date Written: December 9, 2009

Abstract

No country has a more comprehensive, research-based set of dietary guidelines than the United States. It is revised every five years, and its “logo” – the food guide pyramid – was recognized by 61% of the population in 2007 (IFIC 2008). Yet knowing is not doing. Most people know an apple is better for them than a cookie, but cookies outsell apples 3 to 1. Most people know salads are better for them than French fries, but Burger King fries outsell salads 30 to 1 (Wansink 2006).

How can people know so much and do so little when it comes to healthy eating? Certainly, The wide availability and variety of tempting, convenient, inexpensive foods is a formidable match for willpower (Cutler, Glaeser and Shpiro 2003). Yet three overlooked factors can help explain why past efforts to promote the dietary guidelines have been less effective than hoped. Past efforts 1) were too diffuse, 2) used inappropriate media, and 3) relied on an ineffective model of information processing.

Keywords: healthy eating, dietary guidelines, mypyramid, nutritional gatekeepers, obesity

Suggested Citation

Wansink, Brian, Marketing MyPyramid: Taking the Dietary Guidelines Home (December 9, 2009). Leveraging Consumer Psychology for Effective Health Communications, eds. Rajeev Batra, Punam Anand Keller, and Victor Stretcher, Armonk, NY: M.E. Sharpe, 319-332, 2011, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2749278

Brian Wansink (Contact Author)

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