School cashless payments promote sales of unhealthy food, researchers say

Cornell behavioral economists' study show the difference between cash and debit food choices.

Oct. 3—School cafeterias that accept only electronic payments may be inadvertently promoting junkier food and adding empty calories to student diets, which contribute to obesity, say Cornell behavioral economists in the journal Obesity, Sept. 23.

Increasingly, schools use debit cards or accounts for cafeteria lunch transactions, write David Just and Brian Wansink, professors at the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs. To expedite long lunch lines and enable cleaner accounting, about 80 percent of the nation’s elementary and secondary schools have implemented debit systems that parents can add money to at any time.

“There may be a reason for concern about the popularity of cashless systems,” say the researchers. “Debit cards have been shown to induce more frivolous purchases or greater overall spending by adults and college students.”

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gluten free diet

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A large part of menuing allergen-friendly cuisine is deciding which gluten-free items to serve.

In particular, college dining hall operators must decide whether to make gluten-free items in-house or to order gluten-free items from a manufacturer. Some factors to consider are: the size of the university, the demand for gluten-free options,and the ability to have separate gluten-free storage and workspaces in the university dining hall kitchen.

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Reading Hospital in West Reading, Pa., is using robots to help deliver patient meals, BCTV reports.

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Sodexo has partnered with fast casual Blaze Pizza to offer the chain’s signature pizzas, salads, beverages and desserts at select venues served by Sodexo, including colleges and universities.

Bill Lacey, senior vice president of marketing at Sodexo, said that Blaze’s growth in the fast-casual sector drove the partnership. Blaze opened its first unit in 2012 near the University of California at Irvine. Its pizzas are flash fired, cooking in under 180 seconds, according to the chain—a selling point for busy customers.

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