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It’s awesome that your office offers free food and drinks in the pantry, but if you’re constantly reaching for chips instead of apples, there might be a good reason why. Well-known for their fun offices, Google execs asked consumer behaviour expert Ernest Baskin how companies can promote healthy choices while providing indulgent treats. The professor, who teaches at Saint Joseph’s University in the US, teamed up with Yale researchers to find out.
Turns out, the likelihood of staff reaching for a snack increased by more than half if the free beverage station they were visiting was near the tidbit supply – thankfully, women tended to show a bit more restraint. Based on their observations, the researchers recommended measures such as moving healthier snacks closer to the drinks, or making unhealthy snacks more tedious to reach – for example, putting them in a pantry cupboard or a free vending machine. “It was a bit surprising that an extra few feet of distance between snacks and beverages yielded such a significant change in snacking frequency,” shared Ernest.