Your entire childhood, your parents worked diligently to get you to get your vegetables. Well, apparently your parents did a crappy job because now a team of academics from Oxford University are stepping in, hoping to find a way to get adults to eat more vegetables and less meat by redesigning grocery stores.
The five-year, £5 million project called “Our Planet, Our Health,” an initiative from the UK-based Wellcome Trust charity, hopes to battle climate change and improve public health by getting people to swap environmentally-taxing meats for healthier veggie alternatives. According to The Guardian, a group of Oxford scientists will be working with executives at Sainsbury’s to redesign an undisclosed number of stores within the large British grocery chain, from smaller local outposts to superstores to even its online shop. Proposed changes include putting vegetarian alternatives alongside meat products, incentivizing vegetarian options with rewards points and coupons, and flooding shoppers with recipes and informative leaflets.
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Beyond simply improving shoppers’ habits in the short-term, the group hopes to study the effects over time and use this to inform the way supermarkets are arranged and designed moving forward. “As for whether this can be rolled out to other supermarkets, we’ll have to wait and see,” project leader Dr Sarah Molton told Munchies. “This research is necessary because we have so little evidence of what works and this will give us much more insight into what practical and effective solutions may look like.”
Judith Batchelar, director of brand at Sainsbury’s, told The Guardian that customers have already been trending towards buying less meat. “The question is: how can we take that further,” she said. Uh, you could always stop selling meat entirely. Sure, those jerks over at the Tesco grocery chain would be laughing their asses off, but you’d be taking the moral high ground!