Omnivore - ‘I could eat the salad, so I will order the fries’

The weird world of human cravings

Just thinking about eating a salad gives you permission to eat French fries instead:

Just seeing a salad on the menu seems to push some consumers to make a less healthy meal choice, according to a Duke University researcher.

It’s an effect called “vicarious goal fulfillment,” in which a person can feel a goal has been met if they have taken some small action, like considering the salad without ordering it, said Gavan Fitzsimons, professor of marketing and psychology at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business, who led the research.

In a lab experiment, participants possessing high levels of self-control related to food choices (as assessed by a pre-test) avoided french fries, the least healthy item on a menu, when presented with only unhealthy choices. But when a side salad was added to this menu, they became much more likely to take the fries.

No wonder Mickey D’s and others have added salads to their menus!

(Graphic courtesy of Find Fitness Here.)