small change, big difference

By September 4, 2010Leadership

If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I’m a big believer in small changes.  A small change done consistently over time has the potential to bring about big results.  In that spirit, I’m passing on to you the following article about small changes.


Smarter lunchrooms lead kids to eat more salad

Laura Smith, a researcher at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, presented the findings of the study “Convenience Drives Choice in School Lunchrooms” at this week’s Experimental Biology conference in Anaheim, Calif.

In a year-long study in an upstate New York middle school, researchers examined the effect of moving the bar to a more prominent location in the cafeteria. Results show that sales of certain salad bar items increased by 250-300%.

“It wasn’t a big move,” Smith explained. “From its original location against a wall, we moved the salad bar out about four feet, in front of the cash registers.”

“By the end of the year, this even led to 6% more kids eating school lunches,” Smith said. “It’s basic behavioral economics — we made it easier for them to make the right choice.”


Smith and her colleagues, Professor Brian Wansink and Professor David Just, lead the Smarter Lunchroom Initiative. The initiative focuses on low-cost and no-cost changes that can be made in lunchrooms to subtly guide smarter choices.