If only soda marketers would use their skills on veggies

I usually don’t have nice things to say about food marketers. They’ve somehow managed to convince the general public of all sorts of lies. Like that fat is bad for us. Or sugar isn’t that big of a deal.

But according to a new study, using some of those proven marketing tricks on healthy foods might be just as effective.

The mark? Plain old vegetables. Turns out, using spiced-up language to describe veggies makes more people eat them. Especially when compared to language that points out the health benefits.

In a recent study, researchers played with the labels at a large university cafeteria. They’d give the same vegetable dishes one of four types of names:

  • Basic (green beans, for instance)
  • Healthy restrictive (“light ‘n’ low-carb green beans and shallots”)
  • Healthy positive (“healthy energy-boosting green beans and shallots”)
  • Indulgent (“sweet sizzlin’ green beans and crispy shallots”)

Even though the foods were exactly the same, the “indulgent” labeling caused 25 percent more people to choose the vegetables compared to basic labeling, 35 percent more compared to healthy positive, and 41 percent more compared to healthy restrictive.

And the people who did serve themselves veggies piled more on the plate when indulgent labeling was used.

Just goes to show you the power that words and messaging have over us. Now if only we could get some of those soda marketers to use their skills on healthy foods, just imagine what a healthy world we’d live in.