Rewards points spur healthy purchases, study finds

Offering rewards points could be the best way to encourage diners to purchase healthy items, according to a recent study conducted by Cornell University's School of Hotel Administration and Food and Brand Lab.

Researchers found that corporate cafeteria customers were more inclined to buy salads when offered rewards points toward future healthy purchases than when offered discounts on current purchases. Similar results were uncovered when the researchers surveyed undergraduate students about their likely food choices.

"For many of us, our short-term desire for indulgent food often wins out over long-term health goals like weight loss, eating healthier and exercising more," said Elisa Chan, lead author of the study. "However, we found that rewards points can counteract our impulse to indulge by appealing to the part of us that wants to make better choices in the future."

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