"There's free food in the kitchen" is the second greatest work email you can receive. The greatest is "I brought some food back from my trip to [another country]."
After my friend at work visited his home in Chile, he returned with a treasure trove of Nestle Super 8 bars and Suny candies, which taste like warm cookie dough.
They're not just delicious; they're two black stickers worth of delicious.
In Chile, 67% of the adult population is overweight, according to Ministerio de Salud (the Chilean Ministry of Health). To combat obesity, the government in 2016 passed a law requiring food makers to slap hexagonal black stickers on certain unhealthy foods.
The stickers are meant to serve as a deadly stop sign. The irony, according to my friend, is that black stickers have come to signal deliciousness among Chilean consumers. A 3-sticker dessert is more desirable than one with 1 or 2 stickers.
How many packaged food consumers don't realize chips or candy is unhealthy? Of those consumers, how many would change their behavior based on the mere knowledge?
I suspect the education problem exists to a lesser extent than the government expected. The greater issues may be willpower and affordance: how sweets are positioned to Chileans.
A UX designer friend gave me some advice that I'll never forget:
Obsess over every aspect of the problem before you start thinking of solutions.
At first glance, Chile's black label solution makes perfect sense. I think the idea is backfiring — becoming a badge of honor — because it tackles obesity from the perspective of institutions, not consumers. When I leave my desk because "there's food in the kitchen," I know I'm living dangerously.