Study points to effectiveness of renaming vegetables

Simply re-labelling vegetables with more appealing names can hugely increase children's willingness to eat them, a US study has found.

Dr Brian Wansink and colleagues at Cornell University compared the intake of unlabelled carrots against that of carrots billed as "Food of the Day" and "X-ray Vision Carrots" with a socially diverse range of schoolchildren.

While the labelling did not increase the frequency with which they were selected, the children actually ate twice as much of the X-ray Vision Carrots as the other two.

A second study carried out in two New York schools found that when labelled "X-ray Vision Carrots", this time joined by "Power Punch Broccoli", the identical "Tiny Tasty Tree Tops" and "Silly Dilly Green Beans", vegetable sales doubled.

Wansink said: "Our taste buds are very suggestible. When we asked kids to rate these foods afterwards, they rated them as tremendously more tasty. Using attractive names for healthy foods increases their selection and consumption of these foods. It's robust, effective and scalable at little or no cost."

The findings are due to be published shortly in Preventive Medicine.

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