Perhaps the most exciting food industry news out last week was that Disney now has plans to make fruits and vegetables the “default choice” on fast food meals served at its theme park restaurants. This means that if you order a #1, you will get a hamburger, a drink and some carrots, for example, rather than french fries.
Although a number of restaurant chains have started to offer choices that can be substituted for french fries, the default choice for most is still french fries.
I haven’t seen a study specifically related to food choices at fast food. However, there are many studies which show that being the default choice in almost any situation substantially increases the likelihood of selection.
Beyond that, this is the type of change that starts to influence the culture. Much as bans on smoking have gradually changed attitudes so that today the group of people puffing at the entrance to an office building during a frigid winter day start to look pathetic, so will people who go out of their way to order fattening food start to look less normal and more out of control.
Changing the cultural norm to eat more produce will significantly impact sales, consumption and public health.