Research behind Nudge Theory
Recent research has found Nudge Theory to be very effective in inducing behavioural change in the sphere of healthy eating habits. Some recent findings are highlighted below:
A systematic review assessed 42 studies that utilised Nudge Theory to influence health related behaviours and choices in relation to combating obesity1. The findings from the review estimated that health related nudges were responsible for a 15.3% increase in healthier diet and nutritional choices. This finding was measured by assessing overall caloric consumption or a change in the frequency of healthy choices.
Another two factors have been identified as influencing whether individuals are nudged towards making healthier choices. A study identified that the way in which fruit and vegetables are displayed and discounted, and if an individual is under cognitive load can increase fruit and vegetable purchasing2. The results showed that discounting fruit and vegetable bundles led to the largest percentage of fruit and vegetable bundles being selected. The study went on further to examine the effect of cognitive load on purchasing decisions and found a significant interaction between cognitive load and discounted bundles of fruit and vegetables are more effective without cognitive load, but non-discounted bundles are more effective when shoppers are under cognitive load2.
A study also found that oral processing of meals is associated with fullness and meal size and therefore might be a potential way for food manufacturers to nudge consumers towards consuming less energy3. In a series of two experiments it was identified that foods eaten slowly had higher expected satiation and provided satiation and satiety.
- Anneliese Arno, & Steve Thomas. (2016). The efficacy of nudge theory strategies in influencing adult dietary behaviour: A systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Public Health, 16(1), 1-11.
- Carroll, Samek, & Zepeda. (2018). Food bundling as a health nudge: Investigating consumer fruit and vegetable selection using behavioral economics. Appetite, 121, 237-248.
- Danielle Ferriday, Matthew L. Bosworth, Nicolas Godinot, Nathalie Martin, Ciarán G. Forde, Emmy Van Den Heuvel, Sarah L. Appleton, Felix J. Mercer Moss, Peter J. Rogers & Jeffrey M. Brunstrom. (2016). Variation in the Oral Processing of Everyday Meals Is Associated with Fullness and Meal Size; A Potential Nudge to Reduce Energy Intake? Nutrients, 8(5), .