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Trayless cafeterias lead diners to take less salad and relatively more dessert

  • Brian Wansink (a1) and David R Just (a1)

Abstract

Objective

Many colleges are removing trays from their dining facilities in hope of reducing waste. How does not having a tray impact food choice?

Design

A field study was conducted in a university cafeteria (n 417) on two evenings with identical menus, one with tray service and one without.

Setting

A dining hall of a large north-eastern university, USA.

Subjects

Undergraduate students.

Results

Trayless dining decreased the percentage of diners (average age 19·1 years) who took salad by 65·2 % but did not decrease the percentage who took dessert, leading to a markedly higher ratio of dessert to salad.

Conclusions

Cafeterias going trayless should consider complementary policies to encourage balanced diets.

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Copyright

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Email foodandbrandlab@cornell.edu

References

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1. Horovitz, B (2008) More college cafeterias dump food trays. USA Today, 22 July 2008; available at http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/money/industries/food/2008-07-22-trays-college-cafeterias_N.htm
2. Aramark Higher Education (2008) The Business and Cultural Acceptance Case for Going Trayless. Philadelphia, PA: Aramark Higher Education.
3. Foderaro, LW (2009) Without cafeteria trays, colleges find savings. New York Times, 28 April 2009; available at http://www.nytimes.com/2009/04/29/nyregion/29tray.html?_r=0
4. Karstens, K & Moe, G (2009) Trayless dining services and composting green the college cafeteria. J Am Diet Assoc 109, A66.
5. Hanks, AS, Wansink, B & Just, DR (2013) Reliability and accuracy of real-time visualization techniques for measuring school cafeteria tray waste: validating the quarter-waste method. J Acad Nutr Diet (Epublication ahead of print version).
6. Halenda, K (2009) Going trayless and brainless. Daily Princtonian, 3 April 2009; available at http://dailyprincetonian.com/opinion/2009/04/going-trayless-and-brainless/
7. Wansink, B, Just, D & Shimizu, M (2011) Going trayless: unintended nutritional consequences of trayless cafeterias. J Nutr Educ Behav 43, 4 Suppl. 1, S1.
8. Just, DR & Wansink, B (2011) The flat-rate pricing paradox: conflicting effects of ‘all-you-can-eat’ buffet pricing. Rev Econ Stat 93, 193200.
9. Wansink, B (2014) Slim by Design: Mindless Eating Solutions to Everyday Life. New York: William Morrow.
10. Wansink, B & Just, DR (2014) The smarter lunchroom tray: designing the sustainable, scientific lunchroom solution. Working Paper, Cornell Food and Brand Lab, Ithaca, NY.

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