CHAOSTOCOSMOS

Saturday, 17 March 2007

Do Shopping Lists Promote Or Prevent Healthy Choices?

Not necessarily advice aimed soley at the single shopper, but if there is never anyone around to question or regulate our potentially unhealthy choices, this may indeed have especial relevance to us. We've all read advice which says, "Make a list and stick to it," so you're less likely to be tempted by all those naughty things in the supermarket, but this report seems to suggest that the converse may be true.
According to the researchers, when consumers decide what to purchase at the grocery store, the decision is "stimulus-based," that is, it is based on what is directly in front of us. On the other hand, writing out a grocery list at home before going to the store to pick up the items requires "memory-based" decisions. The consumer must attempt to recall the items available at the store before planning out meals for the rest of the week. "We find that consumers who must generate options from memory are more likely to select fun, hedonistic, and sinful options over sensible options or "appropriate" options," write Yuval Rottenstreich (Duke University), Sanjay Sood (UCLA), and Lyle Brenner (University of Florida).

I don't know. I do always make a shopping list, so that I don't forget essential items, but whist I would certainly never write "fattening little pastries with too much sugar, confectioners' custard and cherry on top" on my list, a packet always seems to come home with me, which seems to suggest that my decision for picking it up was "stimulus-based", not "memory-based".

Unless I'm just remembering how good they were last time! Smile

My way of reducing temptation is simply to stay away from it and to shop less often. No more than once a month, if possible and then, as I'm strong enough to limit myself to only one bad treat at a time, it's hardly going to make a great impact on my otherwise healthy eating habits.

One thing this article did confirm was that consumers who had to recall what items were available (i.e. make lists) "opted for lower-priced items, while consumers who had the options in front of them chose higher priced goods".

So I guess the moral is, if you need to stick to a budget, make a list, but be careful that your choices are also healthy ones.

Interesting thought to follow on from that, is I wonder how much better (or worse) we perform if we order our groceries online? We aren't then required to recall as much, as the choices are presented by the online store. However, these are not as tempting as having the actual goods in front of us and, we can see the real cost of those temptations adding up on the total in our shopping cart, which might help to temper the overspending as well as the over-indulgence.

Do Shopping Lists Promote Or Prevent Healthy Choices? Via: zaadz

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