Shared by Vending Times
Issue Date: Vol. 57, No. 4, April 2017, Posted On: 4/3/2017
Researchers Claim That Time Delays In Vending Machines Prompt Healthier Snack Choices
SAN DIEGO — Delaying access to high-calorie foods and snacks in vending machines can shift people’s choices to purchase healthier snack options, according to new research. Preventive medicine experts at Rush University Medical Center presented the findings on March 31 at the Society of Behavioral Medicine ‘s annual meeting in San Diego. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.
“Having to wait for something makes it less desirable,” said Brad Appelhans, clinical psychologist at the Rush University Prevention Center, and the study’s lead investigator of the study. “Research shows that humans strongly prefer immediate gratification, and this preference influences choices and behavior in daily life.”
Appelhans and other researchers developed a new technology called DISC (Delays to Improve Snack Choices) that employs a “delay bar” to separate “healthier” snacks from the less nutritious options. When a patron selects a less nutritious snack, the system begins a 25-second time delay before the machine releases it from the vending machine.
The DISC-equipped vending machine also has an LED screen, which displays the delay times for “less healthy” snack items, and a delivery countdown, which allows the customer to change his or her snack choice to a healthier option.
The delay reportedly yielded a 2% to 5% increase in the proportion of total purchases from healthy snacks. “Also, we found that the delay did not harm total sales volume or vending revenue, which is important to vending machine operators,” said Appelhans.
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