People eat healthier when real-life emojis literally point them to produce

Nearly everyone knows you’re supposed to eat heaping helpings of fruits and vegetables every day. But that doesn’t mean that people actually follow through. In fact, in updated dietary guidelines released in January, the federal government called out nearly everyone for not eating enough produce (as well as eating way too much sugar). But now, researchers have followed up with what may be a simple fix.

In grocery stores, big emojis and arrows on the floor that direct and encourage people to head to the produce section actually got shoppers to buy more produce, researchers report Thursday in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. Moreover, after analyzing grocery bills, the researchers found that shoppers didn’t up their overall shopping budget to accommodate the fresh additions. In other words, grocery store goers weren’t simply piling on crops to their already full carts, but, rather, they were swapping other grocery items for healthy fruits and vegetables.

The findings suggest that adding the minor signage to more stores could be an easy way to get consumers to eat healthier produce. And if so, it “could trigger a public health shift” in a general population that is largely struggling with weight and dietary problems, lead author Collin Payne, of New Mexico State University, said in a statement.

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Read the original at Ars Technica.