It’s nice when the government’s investigations find positive, statistically significant impacts. Small changes bring about small but well directed results. Which is the case for the current USDA study on The Effect of Food and Beverage Prices on Children’s Weight (June 2011, Minh Wendt and Jessica E. Todd). Meaning that a few nickels and dimes more or less for good or bad food bring about identifiable changes in the body mass index of younger children. Put another way: raise the price of bad foods or lower the price of good foods and maybe, just maybe there will eventually be a subsequent corresponding impact on how fat the kids get.
Nickels and dimes might just make a difference.
So big does the leap have to be to presuming that change can also occur for an entire food sector by adding nickels and dimes to build a better food service? Does raising the cost of a burger by way of inspiring compliance with giving a nickel because it’s the cool thing to do bring about the same statistically significant results?
We believe it will in fact amplify the impact – to the point where more and more people will want to be collaboratively involved and will reinforce the positive changes that result no matter which way the provider does what the USDA is suggesting – if the cost of good foods goes down or the cost of bad foods goes up.
While it’s not the easiest of studies to read – what with all the charts and pesky facts – the USDA study is encouraging. And it reinforces what other studies have demonstrated, even if those studies also suggest their own little tastes of change. Theirs is a finding worth noting. (Now, of course, with a few nickels and dimes from investors, we might just get to see whether there really is a monetary impact on this kind of change.)