Can Discounts Keep Children From Buying Junk Food?

Can Discounts Keep Children From Buying Junk Food?


AAEA Member Leads Pilot Project for USDA

Parents can control what their children eat when kids are young, but what happens when they are old enough to spend their own money and make their own choices?

“There is a lot of interest in child nutrition and what kids do with their money,” said Sean Cash of the Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science. “A lot of what they buy is junk food and some studies show they do it every day.”

But is there a way to convince them to choose healthier options? That is the focus of “Young Food Consumers: How do Children Respond to Point-of-Purchase Interventions?” As part of this study children were offered coupons for healthier foods; first in experiments and then in actual stores.

Some of this work is part of an initiative called the CHOMPS Project (coupons for healthier options for minors purchasing snacks); a partnership between Tufts and the United States Department of Agriculture.

“This isn’t to stop them from buying cookies and getting cucumbers instead,” Cash said. “We wanted to know if we can influence what kids are buying after they are already in the stores.”

 How are children responding to the opportunity to save money and eat healthier? Cash will present the results during an AAEA session at the Allied Social Sciences Association (ASSA) 2017 Annual Meeting, in Chicago, January 6-8.

ABOUT AAEA: Established in 1910, the Agricultural & Applied Economics Association (AAEA) is the leading professional association for agricultural and applied economists, with 2,500 members in more than 20 countries. Members of the AAEA work in academic or government institutions as well as in industry and not-for-profit organizations, and engage in a variety of research, teaching, and outreach activities in the areas of agriculture, the environment, food, health, and international development. The AAEA publishes two journals, the American Journal of Agricultural Economics and Applied Economic Perspectives & Policy, as well as the online magazine Choices. To learn more, visit


Cynthia Tait

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