One of my favorite researchers, Dr. Brian Wansink, leads the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University. In a recent publication, Wansink discusses the gap between research on eating behavior and public health policy. He proposes the CAN approach to help researchers implement findings into public policy, and states that because education and cognition may be overrated in terms of influencing behaviors, an approach that capitalizes on the instinctual nature of eating may have more success.
The CAN approach stands for convenient, attractive, and normal.
1. Convenient – enhance convenience and ease of selection and consumption (e.g., placing healthy foods at eyesight for kids in the cafeteria)
2. Attractive – enhance attractiveness of taste expectations and aesthetic appeal of design (e.g., making the stairs a visually appealing alternative to the elevator)
3. Normal – influence what is considered popular (e.g., communicating normative data)