A number of social scientists are hoping to defeat junk food giants on their own turf by using distracting cues that they hope will subconsciously confront a supermarket shopper with healthier choices at every turn, the New York Times reported.

Researchers around the country said they were pursuing a strategy that behavioral scientists call “nudge marketing.” The goal of the effort is to gently direct customers to buy more nutritious foods in the nation’s supermarkets.

Some of the tricks scientists used included dividing grocery carts in half and suggesting to customers that the front half be used for fruits and vegetables and using arrows on store floors to guide shoppers to the produce aisle. Another tool researchers used were mirrors put inside shopping carts and placed in supermarket locations where customers could see their reflections. The hoped for reaction? To make people more mindful about what they eat.

“The more mindless you are when you shop, the more you are going to be poked and prodded to buy the manufacturer’s products,” said Colin R. Payne, PhD, an associate professor at Brigham Young University. Payne, who worked on a string of “mindful eating” studies added that researchers are “trying to give consumers the same power the companies have.”

To date, scientists’ social experiments have worked well in many American stores. One test in Virginia that used the cart divider method said produce sales doubled as a result of the experiment. Another study carried out in an El Paso grocery store found that 9 out of 10 customers followed directional arrows on the floor to find healthier foods.

What’s more, these food studies seemed to work better among low-income shoppers. A test that showed shoppers a glossy placard saying how much produce the average customer bought. And one trial that placed mirrors around the store noted a 91 percent rise in produce sales among those participating in the government nutrition program Women Infants and Children (WIC).

Product placement at grocery stores can also help fix bad eating habits. Click here for more information.