Reusable bags encourage shoppers to buy junk food, Harvard finds – Telegraph

By Sarah Knapton, Science Editor | July 7, 2015

Taking reusable shopping bags to the supermarket encourages people to buy chocolate and crisps because they feel they deserve a treat

Reusable shopping bags make people buy more organic produce Photo: Bloomberg

Canvas shopping bags might be good for the environment but they could be bad for your waistline, Harvard University has found.

Researchers have discovered that a customer’s choice of shopping bag influences purchasing.

And while canvas or hessian bags are more likely to encourage shoppers to choose environmentally friendly organic products, they also make people feel more virtuous and so deserving of a sugary or fatty treat.

In fact, a study showed that people who took their own reusable bag into supermarkets were 33 per cent more likely to pick up unhealthy snacks than those who used the shop provide film bags.

“Grocery store shoppers who bring their own bags are more likely to purchase organic produce and other healthy food,” said study author Uma Karmarkar, assistant professor of business administration at Harvard’s Marketing Unit.

“But those same shoppers often feel virtuous, because they are acting in an environmentally responsible way.

“That feeling easily persuades them that, because they are being good to the environment, they should treat themselves to cookies or potato crisps or some other product with lots of fat, salt, or sugar.”

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Source: Reusable bags encourage shoppers to buy junk food, Harvard finds – Telegraph

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