By Karen Axelton

An interesting study on “comfort food” reported by HealthDay News could have some positive implications for entrepreneurs trying to win new customers.

While conventional wisdom is that people under stress tend to eat more comfort foods such as chips or sweets, a study at the University of South Carolina found that people in stressful situations were actually more likely to choose new food options, rather than the comforting favorites.—even when those foods were healthier.

Researcher Stacy Wood did studies with several hundred students, asking them about the level of change and stress in their lives. Then she offered them choices, including both food items and nonfood items, such as deodorants and DVD movies. Students who reported undergoing significant change in their lives were more likely to select chose more unfamiliar foods, brands and titles.

Wood believes the study shows that people undergoing transformation are more, not less, open to change. (Considering the classic examples of a woman who is in the late stages of pregnancy or has just broken up with a boyfriend choosing to get a drastically new hairstyle, this sounds plausible to me.)

But how does this translate to business? Well, most consumers and business owners—at least, those who aren’t living under a rock–are undergoing huge change and great stress right now. If Wood’s theory is right, that means they’re more likely to consider switching their product choices, too.

That means now could actually be a great time to add new products and services to your line, to pitch new prospects or to approach potential new business partners.