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can your cafeteria receipt change your eating habits?

May 11, 2010

in health communication,wellness

now that your calories will be listed everywhere, smartreceipt will have more company. smartreceipt’s product, nutricate, delivers a dose of education with that burger and fries—or anything else you purchase from a food service operation that uses their patented receipt.

nutricate receipt

nutricate looks like a communication tool with possibilities. besides seeing how much they paid for their meal, employees see what portion of their RDA that meal makes up. and with some of its customization options, nutricate also lets companies promote upcoming challenges and available benefits, add incentives for certain food items, and educate about simple food swaps or food-to-exercise ratios.

i’m not a receipt collector or reviewer, but even i might give this a second look since it’s personalized to me, unlike calorie listings.  i particularly like how it breaks down the calories into the percentage of your recommended RDA consumed in one meal, something i struggle to calculate. i wish it included stats for salt and sugars and broke down the fat stats into good and bad. and i’d like it even more if it tracked my change in eating habits over time, patted me on the back for it, and gave me discounts for improvements.

it’s still an after-the-fact communication. i mean, you purchased the meal, right? you’re going to eat it. but seeing calories listed before and personalized after could be an effective one-two punch.

what do you think?

f

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Ray Goldberg May 11, 2010 at 5:01 pm

Very interesting idea. Yes, it’s after the fact (the “Did You Know?” box therefore needs to be reworded) but it seems very powerful. I’d add the number of Weightwatchers points, which can be calculated via a simple formula. http://bit.ly/9NgraC

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fran May 11, 2010 at 7:37 pm

have you seen the weight watchers widget? i wrote on it here: http://www.freerangecomm.com/2009/11/weight-watchers-snack-widget/

f

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Paul Smith May 12, 2010 at 9:26 am

I like it quite a bit. I also agree with your suggestions of adding salt, sugar & good/bad fat info. to it.
Even know the information is after the fact, there is a “Did you know” section that points me in the other direction for next time. It might not always mean something; I may want to eat a plate of onion rings. But when my stomach hurts from eating it, the negative reinforcement receptor in my brain might kick in and connect with the info I just read, causing the a-ha moment.
The more this information is available the more likely it will be used. We are bombarded by advertising images–showing models in perfect shape consuming fat-laden, over-salted food and alcohol. The image on the receipt is the reality.

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Steve Boese May 12, 2010 at 10:25 am

I like the idea of the receipt providing some details on the nutritional information. It is funny how we (or at least I) think about the most common ‘pre-purchase’ communication as the one that leads you to an unhealthy choice – ‘Do you want fries with that?’, compared to this kind of post-choice communication that tries to get you to consider more healthy choices.

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fran May 12, 2010 at 6:08 pm

steve, the beauty of “fries with that” and supersize me, right? like paul, i appreciate how this educates us about what we’re ingesting. think how many of us don’t know the amount of calories and fat in that cute little breakfast muffin. the next bit is to make healthy choices more widely available in the cafeteria and vending machines. there’s a cool company for that too – wholesome foods vending.

f

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Dan Baxter June 29, 2010 at 1:21 am

Obesity is a killer and is on the rise, but salt consumption causes high blood pressure that causes many health problems and may kill more people than fat does.

Dan Baxter

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