Building on a point-of-purchase intervention to encourage healthier food choices

The Foundation's initiative, Applying Behavioral Economics to Perplexing Problems in Health and Health care, was designed to: (1) apply the principles and frameworks of behavioral economics to uncover pioneering solutions to persistent and perplexing health and health care problems and (2) discover and test interventions that have breakthrough potential to transform the way health care is delivered and health is promoted and preserved.This project will apply principles of behavioral economics to a food-labeling intervention in an effort to improve healthy-eating behaviors among diverse populations at worksite, institutional and retail settings. Such point-of-purchase interventions have the potential of reducing obesity at the population level but will be effective only if consumers are engaged in making healthier choices. Color-coded labeling and making healthy-food choices more convenient and visible in the cafeteria of a large hospital have resulted in healthier purchasing patterns over six months, including among minority and low-income employees. In this project, the grantee will: (1) determine the long-term effectiveness of the six-month intervention, and (2) build on the framework of the color-coded intervention by testing the effectiveness of providing employees with individual feedback and incentives for increasing healthy purchases. The research team will disseminate results to the medical, public health, and business communities, and will present them at national meetings and conferences.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $100,000.00

Awarded on: 3/28/2012

Time frame: 4/1/2012 - 11/30/2013

Grant Number: 69920


Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH)

55 Fruit Street
Boston, 02114-2696


Anne N. Thorndike
Project Director