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Using scientific insights, a plate designed to get kids to eat more veggies

On average, Dutch children between the ages of 4 and 8 eat less than 72 grams of vegetables a day, while they should be getting 100 to 150 grams. How food is presented could be part of the problem. Which is why HAK — a purveyor of canned/jarred vegetables — created Het Helpende Bord (The Helping Plate). The plate was designed by Waarmakers based on research by Wageningen University that HAK commissioned, and uses optical illusion and subconscious cues to help kids eat more vegetables.

The plate's design is driven by five scientific insights: (1) Children mirror adults' behavior, so instead of colorful plastic, the plate is round and ceramic, just like that of their parents. (2) The Delboeuf illusion: it's larger than children's plates usually are, which makes the vegetable section look relatively small. (3) Color contrast: vegetables look tastier on a white background, so the vegetable section is slightly whiter than the rest of the plate, making greens look greener and beets brighter. (4) More is more: people will eat more of something if there's more of it in front of them. This is where the 'bowl' part of the plate comes in: the indentation increases volume for vegetables in a smaller area. (5) Conveniently close: parents are advised to place the veg section nearest the hesitant eater; apparently, whatever's closer to us, we eat more of.

HAK's plate is sold through department store De Bijenkorf for EUR 12.95.

The Helping Plate is an example of a burgeoning trend that TrendWatching has dubbed BRANDCARE (which we delve into in our 2021 Trend Report). In short, consumers increasingly expect brands they interact with to prioritize their physical and mental wellbeing. What can your brand offer consumers in need of care? Like HAK, do your research. When it comes to promoting health, informed empathy is the way to go!

Innovation of the day