maya vadiveloo Assistant professor Nutrition and food science

Current initiatives aimed at influencing diet quality often lean on discounting fruits and vegetables. “In reality, not all people need to eat more fruits and vegetables,” Vadiveloo says. “Some people do really well with that but could make a subtle shift in other areas.” With her method of marketing, a consumer who buys refined grain or white bread could receive a discount for a whole grain alternative, and someone who buys yogurt could be pushed coupons for an option with less sugar. In total, Vadiveloo and her team have created more than 100 coupons discounting items such as low-fat dairy products, salmon, lean cuts of beef, chicken, whole grain breads, and dairy-free alternatives, among many others. Setting up the framework for the pilot took the research team the better part of a year, a process Vadiveloo knows will need to be refined before the program can scale. The first step was to hand-code the UPC codes — unique product barcodes — that registers collect from each purchase. Once each food item was coded, the research

Spring 2019 | 23 |

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