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Great piece in Fast Company about how Google is encouraging its employees to live happier, healthier lives through better eating - and is putting that philosophy into practice in its cafeteria.

“In pursuit of that healthiness, happiness, and innovation, Google has turned to ‘nudges’: simple, subtle cues that prompt people to make better decisions. Behavioral economists have shown the idea works, but Google has taken it out of the lab and into the lunchroom. This is a sampling of the encouragement you'd get during trips through the company's eateries - and naturally, Google is measuring the results.”

For example:

• “No longer are M&Ms in clear hanging dispensers. If you're in Google's New York office, you now have to reach into opaque bins. The grab takes effort; the obscuring vessel quells enticement. The switch led to a 9% drop in caloric intake from candy in just one week.”

• “Waiting for you as you enter the cafeteria is the salad bar. According to Jessica Wisdom, a member of the People Analytics team, studies show that people tend to fill their plates with whatever they see first. Thus, leafy greens get the most visible real estate. Desserts, meanwhile, are down another line of sight.”

• “While grabbing a plate to load up on grub, you see a sign informing you that people with bigger dishes are inclined to eat more. It doesn't tell you what to do, but it affects your behavior. This simple ‘meta nudge"’caused small-plate usage to increase by half, to 32% of all plate traffic.”

The whole piece can be read here.
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