Use A Trolley Instead Of A Basket For Healthier Choices At The Supermarket

Use A Trolley Instead Of A Basket For Healthier Choices At The Supermarket

Making healthier food choices may sometimes be influenced by small, seemingly inconsequential decisions like using a shopping trolley versus a basket. But a new study suggests that using a trolley can make people three times more likely to select healthier foods, because of the mind-body relationship.Photo by

As Consumer Reports explains it:

Why, exactly, is a little complicated, and involves something called “embodied cognition,” or the notion that bodily sensations can influence our thoughts and emotions. In this case, the researchers say that the act of flexing your arm, as you do when holding a basket, somehow encourages you to choose smaller, easier rewards (also known, in this study, as “vices”), while extending your arm, as when you push a cart, has the opposite effect.

See the full study (PDF) for more on how the way we flex our arms may predicate or influence our vice preferences and motivations.

The reason behind it may be complicated, but the next time you’re at the supermarket, it wouldn’t hurt to try a trolley instead of a basket even for a few items.

Study: For healthy choices, shop with a cart, not a basket [Consumer Reports]


  • Anecdotal I know, but I do tend to get more fresh produce when I’m using a trolley, than when I’m using a basket.

    Try fitting a giant coz lettuce & a large bunch of celery in a basket, then realising you can’t fit ANYTHING else in there… Or getting a few fresh things, then realising no matter how well you pack your basket, you’re going to end up with squashed/bruised produce.
    (Nothing about flexing my [lack of] arm muscles has ever crossed my mind though.)

    Although lazy me rarely feels like grabbing a giant trolley that doesn’t steer properly, and I usually just grab a basket instead :S

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