Developing healthy eating habits starts with choosing healthy foods. To stress the benefits of healthy eating in students, it is important to offer healthy items
wherever food is offered or sold.
Concession stands at school sporting events are often overlooked by
those advocating for healthy school food. However, a new study
highlights how concession stands can benefit from adding on healthy
‘Many students purchase healthier foods when they are available and the revenue also increases when a variety of healthy items are available.’
"We found that an average of 77% of students purchased healthier
foods when they were available and that revenue also increased when a
variety of healthy items were available" says co-author Brian Wansink, Professor and Director of the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, "This a
game changer for both schools and healthier students."
In 2014, researchers from the University of Iowa and Cornell
University teamed up with a booster club president in charge of running
the concession stand at a large high school to publish their findings on
how the addition of healthy items to the school concession stand
impacted sales. They found that the addition of eight new healthy items,
which complied with the USDA Smart Snacks guidelines, accounted for 9%
of concession stand sales. Overall sales also increased by 4%.
"While these findings were positive," says co-author Helena
Laroche of the University of Iowa, "We really wanted to know how
students felt about the change, so we conducted a follow-up survey to
gauge their satisfaction."
314 students responded to the survey, which asked them to
indicate whether the availability of healthy foods was important to them
or not. The researchers split the survey responses based on the
students' answer to this question and found that both groups purchased
healthier foods and were more satisfied with the offerings.
who valued the availability of healthy items, 79% reported purchasing at
least one new healthy item. Of those who did not believe it was
important to offer healthy foods, almost as many 76% reported purchasing
at least one healthy item during the school year. Furthermore, the
latter group indicated being more satisfied with the variety of foods
offered and the former more satisfied with the healthfulness and taste.
The researchers stress the importance of sending students a
consistent message that health is important by offering healthy items
wherever food is offered or sold. "Selling healthy foods at concession
stands turns out to be a win-win," says co-author David Just of
Cornell University, "Students are more satisfied and the bottom line