© Wansink 2013 CORNELL

BrianWansink MindlessEating
Does Marketing Need to Make Us Fat:
Slim by Design


Brian Wansink, Ph.D.
June 10, 2014














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BrianWansink MindlessEating
Childhood biases . . .

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Childhood biases . . .

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BrianWansink MindlessEating
Why Aren’t We Going to See Grandpa?


We would,
if people bought more bread.

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BrianWansink MindlessEating
I Wanted to be a
Food Journalism
Professor

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My First Course at Dartmouth . .

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A Dinner Party Flashback . . .


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Blaming the Raccoons

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Blaming the Raccoons
(Win-lose “solution”)

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Can there be a Win-Win Solution?


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Blaming the Raccoons

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The 4-Ps of Marketing
 Promotion
• Advertising, signage, communication
 Pricing
• Combos, quantity discounts
 Product
• Formulation, size, labeling, packaging,
convenience
 Place
• Location, layout, priming, sequencing

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BrianWansink MindlessEating
1996:
A 100-Calorie Pack Lesson


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BrianWansink MindlessEating
1996:
A 100-Calorie Pack Lesson

 1. Companies aren’t very good at
thinking outside the box

 2. If we can give them profitable win-
win solutions, they will use them

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BrianWansink MindlessEating
The Case for Win-win Solutions
The Buffet Paradox







The Smarter Lunchroom Movement


How Food Marketing can
Make Us
“Slim By Design”


Seductive Nutrition


I’ll end with
News You Can Use


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BrianWansink MindlessEating

Our Mission:

To Discover and
Disseminate Transforming
Solutions that Help People
Eat Better


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BrianWansink MindlessEating
A curious call …

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BrianWansink MindlessEating
Part I.
The Buffet Paradox



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BrianWansink MindlessEating
The Paradox of the
All You Can Eat Buffet


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BrianWansink MindlessEating
A Metaphor: From Mindless Eating
to Mindlessly Eating Less
The Evil Buffet . . .
Proposed solutions

 Surcharge to patrons
 Tax to buffets
 Consumer Education
 Tougher licensing
 Address in Dietary
Guidelines





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BrianWansink MindlessEating
If Buffets are Evil, then why are half
of the diners skinny?

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BrianWansink MindlessEating
What Do Skinny People Do
Differently at Chinese Buffets?
 12 Coders, 370 diners, 7 States
 70 variables
 Secret agent tools
• weight mat
• laser height
• Clickers
• Cracker Jack stopwatches


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BrianWansink MindlessEating
What Do Skinny People Do Differently than
Heavier People at Chinese Buffets?

 What differentiated skinny from heavy?
• Ate less & better, but . . .
• What else did they do differently?

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BrianWansink MindlessEating

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BrianWansink MindlessEating
When Asked “Why?”
 They weren’t even aware of what they had
done
• Habitual

 One solution is to tell diners to
• Sit far and face away; Scout out the buffet; Use
smaller plates; etc.

 Another solution was the restaurant’s . . .



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BrianWansink MindlessEating
The Restaurant’s Solution. . .
 Owner of buffets in Central Pennsylvania wrote…
 “I own some buffets…thank you … now saving
money on food costs”
• Bought smaller plates
• Made chopsticks the default
• Instructed wait staff to seat people far from buffet (until far
tables filled up)
• Put all plates behind buffet (forced “scouting”)
• Put plants between tables and buffet
 The callback . . .

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BrianWansink MindlessEating
Our Past Focus on Changing Food Environment
has been Top Down
28
TOP DOWN
- Government Policy
- Industry Standards

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BrianWansink MindlessEating
Two Overlooked Forces to Change Our
Food Environment
29
TOP DOWN
- Government Policy
- Industry Standards
BOTTOM UP
- Market Forces
- Personal Activism
LEFT RIGHT
- Opinion Leaders (Disney)
- Credentialing or Certification
(Smarter Lunchrooms,
or Healthful Food Cncil)

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BrianWansink MindlessEating
Part II.
Seductive Nutrition



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Our “Taste” is Very Suggestible


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“Can You Make People Think the Food Tastes Good?”


Seafood filet

Chocolate Cake




Succulent Italian
Seafood filet

Belgium Black Forest
Chocolate Cake

Wansink, Brian, Koert van Ittersum, and James E. Painter (2005), “How
Descriptive Food Names Bias Sensory Perceptions in Restaurants,” Food
Quality and Preference, 16:5, 393-400.

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BrianWansink MindlessEating
As Fine as North Dakota Wine
 Spice Box Restaurant
• 117 diners
• Pre Fix French Meal
• $18


California
Wine
North
Dakota
Wine

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BrianWansink MindlessEating
Our “Taste” is Very Suggestible

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BrianWansink MindlessEating
“How to Become a Better Chef
in 5 Minutes”
 Visiting Professor
• Apicius Culinary Academy – Florence, Italy
• Le Cordon Bleu – Paris France

 At Home

 At Work?

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BrianWansink MindlessEating
How Could a Mayonnaise Company

Use This to Help People Eat Better?

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BrianWansink MindlessEating
Unilever Food . . .
 Unilever Food sells ingredients to restaurants
(mayo, butter, pasta, etc.)

 Most of Unilever Foods are not healthy . . .

 “We want to help our restaurant clients
decrease the calorie content of 1-2 top selling
menu items by 100 or more calories”



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BrianWansink MindlessEating
Critical Question
Why would a Mayonnaise Company want to
help their “restaurant clients decrease the
calorie content of 1-2 top selling menu
items by 100 or more calories”


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BrianWansink MindlessEating
Critical Question #2
How could they do it?


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BrianWansink MindlessEating
Insert
comment on
essence NO
ORANGE!
Seductive
Nutrition

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BrianWansink MindlessEating
What restaurant goers really want:
“slightly healthier” versions of their favorites

 Plenty of vegetables
 Low in fat
 Right-size portions
 Grilled
 Fresh ingredients
 Lower in calories

World Menu Report #3: Seductive Nutrition, 2012


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BrianWansink MindlessEating
Seductive
Nutrition
The Seductive Nutrition
Challenge:


• Choose a top dish

• Reduce the recipe by at least 100 calories

• Make it delicious and appealing

• Romance your dish with a brief
description


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BrianWansink MindlessEating

Tools for Operators to
Reduce Calories and Romance the Menu

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Calorie Calculator
Free US Calorie Calculator: http://www.unileverfoodsolutions.us/our-services/your-menu/wmr-3/calorie-calculator

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BrianWansink MindlessEating
How Powerful is Seductive Nutrition?
 Within 6 Months . . .

• 5000 restaurants pledged 1-3 menu item changes
• Est. item sales just under 100,000/year/restaurant
• Total projected reduced calories =
 500,000,000 calories (one-half of a billion)
 147,000 lbs.


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BrianWansink MindlessEating
How Powerful is Seductive Nutrition?
 It not only gets us to eat vegetables…


 It even gets kids to eat . . . Brussel sprouts

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BrianWansink MindlessEating
III. The Smarter
Lunchroom Movement

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BrianWansink MindlessEating
A Call from the NY State Department
of Health
How much should we subsidize fruit in
cafeterias to increase whole fruit sales 5%?

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“The problem’s not the price?”
 Two Suggestions:
• Put it in a nice bowl
• . . . in a well-lite place

 Results
• 5 Schools
• 1 School
• 2 Schools

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BrianWansink MindlessEating
“The problem’s not the price?”
 Two Suggestions:
• Put it in a nice bowl
• . . . in a well-lite place

 Results
• 5 Schools
• 1 School
• 2 Schools
That’s obvious.
That’ll never work.

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BrianWansink MindlessEating
Example 2: USDA Salad Bar Dilemma
 “Nobody buys salad.”

 Should we add more stuff or subsidize the
price?

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BrianWansink MindlessEating
Hot
Lunch
Line
Salad
Bar
Ala Cart Items
Cash
Register
#2
Cash
Register
#1

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BrianWansink MindlessEating
Hot
Lunch
Line
Old
Locati
on for
Salad
Bar
Ala Cart Items
Cash
Register
#2
Cash
Register
#1
New Location
for Salad Bar

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BrianWansink MindlessEating
Hot
Lunch
Line
Old
Locati
on for
Salad
Bar
Ala Cart Items
Cash
Register
#2
Cash
Register
#1
New Location
for Salad Bar
Daily Salad Sales
increased 200-300%
within two weeks

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BrianWansink MindlessEating
Bigger Question . . .
How can you makeover a school
for less than $50?

 What can be done to . . .
• Increase the good stuff kids take
• Decrease the less good stuff kids take
• Increase overall participation in school lunches


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Even Baby Steps Worked . . .

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III. Slim By Design


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Focusing on Our Food Radius
 Over 80% of our food is purchased or
eaten within 5 miles of home
 Five Places:
• Home,
• Main grocery store,
• 2-3 restaurants,
• Work,
• Kids school

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BrianWansink MindlessEating
Win-win Changes
That Help Us Eat Better
 Restaurant (eat 31% less)
• We can have ½ entrée packed for home
• Ask them to offer ½ size portions on popular entrées


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BrianWansink MindlessEating
A Large Truckstop Chain Restaurant
0
200
400
600
800
1000
1200
Feb (2009) Mar (2009) Feb (2010) Mar (2010)
Large-size
meals sold
Half-size meals
sold
Selected side
items sold
Half size increased by 950
Full size decreased by 280
------
Side items increased by 375
More people ate there & bought more side$

© Wansink 2013 CORNELL
BrianWansink MindlessEating
Win-win Changes
That Help Us Eat Better
 Restaurant (eat 31% less)
• We can have ½ entrée packed for home
• Offer ½ size portions on popular items
 Grocery Store (buy 18% more of the “healthy foods”)
• We can shop healthy aisles first
• We can ask them move the healthy foods to first 3 aisles
 Workplace (eat 12% fewer calories/day)
• Pack a lunch and don’t eat at desk
• We can ask them to better break room or brown bags


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BrianWansink MindlessEating
Our Opportunity



 Help invent
simple scalable
interventions that
we prove will
work
 Win-win case for
companies


 We tell consumers about
actionism, not activisim
• What they can do
• How to get others to help

© Wansink 2013 CORNELL
BrianWansink MindlessEating
Two Overlooked Forces to Change Our
Food Environment
70
TOP DOWN
- Government Policy
- Industry Standards
BOTTOM UP
- Market Forces
- Personal Activism
LEFT RIGHT
- Opinion Leaders (Disney)
- Credentialing or Certification
(Smarter Lunchrooms,
or Healthful Food Cncil)

© Wansink 2013 CORNELL
BrianWansink MindlessEating
In conclusion . . . back to you.


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BrianWansink MindlessEating
Don’t Forget the Raccoon

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BrianWansink MindlessEating
News you can use?
[] Where to sit at Chinese buffets

[] How to become a better cook in 5 minutes

[] What to put on your home counter


© Wansink 2013 CORNELL
BrianWansink MindlessEating
Thank You and . . .


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BrianWansink MindlessEating
More Info . . .
Resources to Google
 “Outreach Pages”

 You Tube Videos

 “Consumer Insights
Wansink” (videos)

 Twitter: BrianWansink

SmarterLunchrooms.org

© Wansink 2013 CORNELL
BrianWansink MindlessEating
News you can use?
[] What to impulse buy at Pottery Barn

[] How to eat Ben & Jerry’s ice cream

[] What to put on your home counter

[] Bonus Question: Where to consider
sending your PhD student for a post-doc?


© Wansink 2013 CORNELL
BrianWansink MindlessEating
Happy Thanksgiving

© Wansink 2013 CORNELL
BrianWansink MindlessEating


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BrianWansink MindlessEating
Hmmm. . .
 What can you do to guide your patrons
to take the healthier, high margin
items?

 Shrimp salad versus Onion Rings
• Shrimp salad = healthy and high margin
• Onion rings = unhealthy and low margin

© Wansink 2013 CORNELL
BrianWansink MindlessEating
Thank You
“The Best Diet is The Diet You
Don’t Know You’re On.”
Mindless Eating -- p. 1


© Wansink 2013 CORNELL
BrianWansink MindlessEating
Resources . . .
MindlessEating.org
SmarterLunchrooms.org
BrianWansink

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