GOOD

Should Burger King Do More Than Just Hint at Apple Fries?

Optimal defaults could change fast-food orders. Companies should go a step further and offer discounts for healthier choices.

Today, the National Restaurant Association rolled out a new healthy eating initiative called Kids Live Well. Expect to see more healthy snacks like "apple fries" at places better known for the classic deep-friend potato version: Burger King, Friendly's, Sizzler, and Au Bon Pain are all participating in the program.

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Researchers at the Cornell University Food and Brand Lab, conducting a study on behalf of the New York Department of Health, discovered that the key to getting schoolchildren to eat healthier school lunches isn't price. It's positioning and presentation.

By moving fruit from dingy silver pans in poorly lit areas to baskets illuminated by better lighting, the team prompted students to go on a fruit-buying frenzy, raising the sales of the healthy items by more than 50 percent. Other phenomenon that these food psychologists have noticed is that students who pay for their lunches with debit cards (rather than cash) tend to prefer junk food. The Lab director Brian Wansink believes that by only allowing students to pay for certain items with cards (excluding cookies, ice cream, chips, etc.), schools may be able to push students toward eating better.

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