An environmental intervention to increase fruit and salad purchases in a cafeteria

Prev Med. 1994 Nov;23(6):788-92. doi: 10.1006/pmed.1994.1135.


Background: This study explored the hypothesis that consumption of fruit and salad in a cafeteria setting would increase if the variety of offerings was increased and their price reduced.

Method: Food purchases in a cafeteria setting were observed during 3 weeks of baseline observation, 3 weeks of intervention, and 3 weeks of return to baseline conditions. Intervention consisted of doubling the number of fruit choices, increasing salad ingredient selections by three, and reducing the price of both fruit and salad by 50%. The primary outcome measures in the study were daily sales of fruit and salad as assessed by cash register receipts.

Results: Fruit and salad purchases increased threefold in the intervention period compared to those in the nonintervention periods. Women and those trying to control their weight were most likely to make these nutritious food choices.

Conclusion: Results of this study support the argument that increasing the number of nutritious food choices and making them more attractive economically may be important to changing food choice behavior. Further exploration of the practical application of the concept is recommended.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Food Preferences / psychology*
  • Fruit
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Restaurants*