The idea is that rather than try to persuade diabetic and obese customers to purchase fresh produce and prepare home cooked meals, health insurers will target diabetic and obese customers with coupons for healthier, processed food than they are currently eating. People like coupons, but“We realize that Lean Cuisine is not a home-cooked, organic meal,” Gardner says. “We are a pragmatic solution that is not letting perfection get in the way of progress.”a quick peek through the Sunday papers will prove, are for unhealthful foods: soda, chips and snack cakes instead of low-fat cheese or whole-wheat pasta.To target needy consumers, Gardner reached out to health insurers, which have detailed health data on patients who struggle with their weight and diseases. He asked them to include healthful food coupons in their regular mailings. To protect patients’ privacy, Linkwell never sees the health data nor do the brands that sponsor the coupons.The link to the story is here: 50 cents off chips, in the name of healthful eating - The Washington PostLinkwell also has run pilot programs in which grocery stores offer discounts on fresh produce or seafood. It is experimenting with innovative promotions in which customers who buy a box of, say, Special K get $1 off fresh blueberries.
The author of the story wrote this elsewhere:I see where she's coming from. Ten years ago, a typical lunch for me was mashed potatoes with gravy and a grilled cheese sandwich, followed by a coke and Snickers bar for a mid afternoon snack. Five years ago, it was a lean cuisine, yoplait and a fruit, followed by a diet coke and peanut M&Ms for a snack. This week, it's grilled chicken with a big salad with tomatoes, broccoli, blueberries, peppers and almonds. There's no way grilled cheese girl would have made a direct leap to BAS.But there is lots of research out there that shows that people who are motivated for change (by their weight or a diet-related disease) are more successful making small changes than trying to overhaul their diets. (The ones who try to change everything feel overwhelmed and just give up.)
The reason? Many people don't have the skills that you have (and as you say, you wouldn't have them if you hadn't learned them growing up). So it's not realistic to incentivize people to buy fresh kale if it just rots in the fridge. But if they take one step and are successful, they might be encouraged to take a second step and a third. Or, at worst, at least they are eating healthier packaged dinners.