BEIJING, June 22 (Xinhuanet)-- Simply choosing an indulgent, delicious name can make the same food appear to be more appealing, said a newly published study in JAMA Internal Medicine by Stanford scholars.
The study was based on a well-designed experiment conducted in a university cafeteria that serves an average of 607 lunches on a typical weekday for 46 days.
Each day, one kind of vegetables was randomly labeled in one of four ways: basic, healthy restrictive, healthy positive, or indulgent.
Take carrot as an example, four ways of naming it would be “carrot”, “carrots with sugar-free citrus dressing”, "smart-choice vitamin C citrus carrots", and "twisted citrus-glazed carrots".
The results show that a more seductive name statistically cause higher consumption of the corresponding vegetable, compared to basic, healthy restrictive and healthy positive names.
Another interesting finding is that using healthy restrictive and healthy positive names can’t trigger people’s willingness of healthy eating, compared to the name’s basic version.
One possible explanation of this finding could be people’s pervasive mindset that healthy foods are usually not very tasty.
Although the limitations of the study, the result has its public health implications.
As a cost-efficient way for retailers, shop owners, and policy makers, simply choosing an indulgent, delicious name can increase people’s selection of healthier options.