Cueing healthier alternatives for take-away: a field experiment on the effects of (disclosing) three nudges on food choices

Tracy T. L. Cheung, Marleen Gillebaart, Floor M. Kroese, David Marchiori, Bob M. Fennis, Denise T. D. de Ridder

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5 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Background
The current field experiment demonstrates the effectiveness of nudging to promote healthy food choices.

Methods
Three types of nudges were implemented at a take-away food vendor: 1) an accessibility nudge that placed fruits at the front counter; 2) a salience nudge that presented healthy bread rolls to be more visually attractive; and 3) a social proof nudge that conveyed yoghurt as a popular choice. We additionally assessed whether nudging effects would remain robust when a disclosure message was included. The field experiment was conducted over a seven-week period. The measured outcome was the sales of the targeted healthy food products.

Results
The accessibility nudge significantly increased the sales of the fresh fruits. The impact of the salience nudge was limited presumably due to existing preferences or habits that typically facilitate bread purchases. As the sales of the yoghurt shakes remained consistently low over the seven-week period the impact of the social proof nudge remained unexamined. Critically, disclosing the purpose of the nudges did not interfere with effects.

Conclusions
Current findings suggest nudging as an effective strategy for healthy food promotion, and offer implications for topical debate regarding the ethics of nudges.
Original languageEnglish
Article number974
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Public Health
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22-Jul-2019

Keywords

  • SOCIAL NORMS
  • BEHAVIOR
  • SELF
  • ACCESSIBILITY
  • DETERMINANTS
  • ARCHITECTURE
  • INITIATION
  • CONSUMER

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