Multitasking While Grocery Shopping Can Hinder Healthy Decisions
We know not to text and drive. Then it was don’t text and run. Now research finds multitasking on our cell phones could pose problems at the grocery store too.
In a 2016 study published in the Journal of Retailing, researchers set up grocery shopping scenarios to determine how multitasking while shopping effects purchasing decisions. First, 227 college students were told to shop for snacks that totaled 500 calories or less. Half the students listened to a voicemail while shopping, while the other half shopped distraction-free. In a second trial, 119 shoppers in Paris were asked to choose a low-calorie pasta sauce for a friend on a diet. Some shoppers listened to a recording while navigating the store, others did not.
Before shoppers hit the aisles, researchers also manipulated their mindsets through a reading exercise. Some participants were put into a “how-mindset,” meaning they were focused on the process of how to do something, while others were put into a “why-mindset,” which had them focused on the reason for doing something. Researchers note that people in why-mindsets have a tougher time making decisions because they analyze the pros and cons of every choice—not an easy task when talking on the phone.
Grocery purchases revealed those focused on how were able to multitask with no problem. On the contrary, those focused on why failed to buy healthier foods while distracted by their phones. The problem for us: Most people live in a why world, especially when trying to buy healthier foods.
Think about it: You’re working your way through the store, faced with thousands of different food choices, trying to pick the foods that are the healthiest, freshest, best tasting, and most cost effective. Who can handle a cell phone conversation during that?
Don’t make shopping harder than it has to be. Put the phone down, stick to your list, and you’ll be out the door in no time stocking your fridge full of nutritious foods.
Need some inspiration? We’ll make it easy. Pick up some apple cider, farro and a DOLE® Chopped Pomegranate Salad Kit and you’ve got our Apple Cider Farro Chopped Salad on the table.
Published January 1, 2017