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    • PI: Dr. Jane Kolodinsky
  • University of Vermont
  • Project Title:
    Sampling Tomorrows Lunch Today: Using Behavioral Economics to Assess the Efficacy of a Farm to School Programming Element “Taste Tests”
  • Key Findings:
    Sampling Tomorrow’s Lunch Today addressed the school lunch trilemma. School lunches must maximize participation by full-paying students; school lunch guidelines MAY make it difficult to serve tasty, healthy meals students like; and school lunches must be affordable. The goal of this project was to Increase NSLP participation by providing samples of a lunch entrée, the day before it is to appear on the school lunch menu. We tested the hypothesis that NSLP participation rates will increase on days where students have sampled the day’s entrée the previous day. A before/after with baseline experiment was conducted using four entrees: Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo, Root Vegetable Stew, Savory Turkey Loaf and Eggplant Parmesan. These competed against packed lunch and Pizza, Deli, Salad Bar. Results show an increase in the percentage of students choosing school lunch. This is the first study we know of that provides evidence that taste tests might be valuable in trying new, healthier options. Taste tests may be a behavioral approach to help solve the school lunch trilemma.
  • Presentations:
    Kolodinsky, Jane, Elizabeth Pope and Erin Roche (2016). Sampling tomorrow’s Lunch Today: Examining the effect of sampling on school lunch participation. Track Session - Presentation. Agricultural and Applied Economics Meetings, Boston, MA.