According to a new study published in the journal Psychological Science, a team of researchers - led by Bradley Turnwald of Stanford University - took on the challenge of figuring out how to get college students to eat more vegetables.
Turnwald: “College students have among the lowest vegetable intake rates of all age groups. Students are learning to make food decisions for the first time in the midst of new stresses, environments, and food options.”
Turnwald and his team found that re-labeling cafeteria vegetables with palate-enticing names (for instance, “twisted citrus glazed carrots” or “ultimate char-grilled asparagus”) resulted in double-digit increases in vegetable consumption on college campuses around the country.
To arrive at this conclusion, the researchers set up randomized experiments in cafeterias at five campuses in the United States (two in the West, two in the Northeast, and one in the South). In the experiments, the researchers varied the labeling of cafeteria vegetable selections: some days vegetables were given taste-focused labels (for example, “Herb n’ Honey Balsamic Glazed Turnips”), some days vegetables were given health-focused labels (“Healthy Choice Turnips”), and, other days, non-descriptive labels were used (“Turnips”).