The No-Cost Way to Double Kids’ Fruit Intake

One of the biggest problems with school lunches is that even if there are healthy options available, it is hard to get children to choose them over the less healthy alternatives. The trick to having them make the right decision is simple marketing: if healthy options are displayed attractively, children are more likely to choose them. According to the Cornell Center for Behavior Economics, when fruit is put in attractive and prominently displayed baskets, fruit consumption went up by 103%.

David Just, one of the researchers, told NPR that the best placement for the baskets was next to the checkout counters, because that’s where ”kids spend more time looking at it” while waiting in line. The best thing about these changes is that it literally doubles the amount of healthy food kids are eating at zero cost to schools. Similar no-cost solutions to improving student nutrition include closing the lid to the ice-cream box, moving the location of the salad bar and renaming vegetable options to sound more appealing.

This research comes at an opportune time, as many are looking at how subtle marketing ploys affect consumer behavior in grocery stores. Whole Foods, for example, uses similar methods of fruit displays to “symbolize” straight from the farm freshness. Behavioral economics is, indeed, showing that these marketing displays affect not only consumers in the grocery store, but children in their cafeterias.

With October being National Farm-To-School-Month, it’s important to think about not only where our children’s food is coming from – but where it is going. Now that schools know the ways to get kids to choose healthier options in the cafetaria, they should certainly do so, allowing more children to make the right choice: nutritious, farm-fresh fruit and vegetables.

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Junk Food Costs More Than Real Food: 4 Reasons We Keep Eating It

Photo credit: dennis's Flickr stream.


Kelly Lowry
Kelly Lowry3 years ago

I understand but by providing families with fresh fruits, by making them accessible and most of all AFFORDABLE teaches children to eat fresh fruits from a early age, we can use the money to provide fresh fruits to children at an early age, kids who learn to eat fresh fruits wont need attractive packages. So much fruits and veg go to waste just rot and get thrown away, these same fruits and veg are to expensive for most people to afford. Why can't we get these fruits and veg out to the people?

michelle B.


michelle B.

Thx for the great ideas!

Carole H.
Carole H.5 years ago

Great idea and that fruit basket looks lovely - I could eat some of it now please.

Judith Emerson
Judith Emerson5 years ago


Kamryn M.
Kay M.5 years ago


Judith Corrigan
Judith Corrigan5 years ago

I think that it does work,everyone is affected by advertising so it is about time those techniques were used for a good cause.

Emma S.
Emma S.5 years ago

I haven't got children - I read this in the hope that I'd be able to trick myself into eating more fruit. Maybe I'd better go and find a basket...

Denise L.
Denise L.5 years ago

I found starting early and limiting junk food when they were young worked for us.

I eat a lot of fruits and veggies so that probably helped

Get them helping in the garden as they are so proud of growing something themselves and eager to eat it and cook with it

Chris Ray
Chris R.5 years ago

Let's see if schools take the advice, thanks Sam!~