The Use of Nudge as Strategy to Promote Healthy Eating
Background: Design choice environments through nudge has been recommended in the food industry as a strategy for promoting healthier food choices, particularly among young adults for whom the eating habits are still flexible in comparison to mature adults. The present study involved a field intervention that aims to assess if the use of nudges strategies can increase sales of healthier food.
Methods: The study was divided into three independent phases: pre-intervention, intervention, and post-intervention, with the independent variable being the use of nudge strategies during the intervention phase and the dependent variable being the selection/purchase of the target food.
Results: We conducted a series of analysis of variance to determine whether the number of target foods increased as a result of the nudging interventions. In total we run eleven One way ANOVA, one for each target food (fresh fruit piece, fruit salad, porridge, soup, wholemeal bread, white bread, popcorn, crisps, mixed nuts, salad bowl and chocolate bar). The analyse of variance revealed that only the wholemeal bread (p =0.008) and the white bread (p = 0.028) had statically significance. The wholemeal bread increased sales during intervention and the white bread reduced the sales during the intervention and post intervention phase. The other targeted foods presented an increase in sales, however the value of p was > 0.05.
Conclusions: In the present study we found out overall slight effects that are varied, fluctuating from strong to even unhealthy food choices. We conclude that, besides the heterogenic results, nudges can promote and improve the sales of healthier food in the university restaurant setting. However, there is a need for further studies to understand better how nudge strategies work with different food choices.