Making Healthy Choices Easier

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Making Healthy Choices Easier

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Title: Making Healthy Choices Easier
An Exploratory Study of Nudging Interventions Across Germany and Denmark
Author: Farhländer, Elena
Abstract: The rising levels of obesity highlight the need to find efficient ways to tackle this worldwide epidemic. To date, policy interventions have only shown limited success, and new scientific approaches give hope to better understand this disease and to provide effective solutions. Nudging, which aims to steer people in certain directions without limiting their freedom of choice, is one of these promising approaches. Nudging interventions have not received sufficient attention in research so far, especially with regards to cross-country differences and in the growing field of online grocery shops. With the aim to bridge this gap, the present study explores whether health nudges, in particular labels, positioning and priming, are effective in driving Danish and German consumers’ choices towards healthier food in an online grocery shop environment. Further, differences in the effectiveness of these health nudges between Danish and German consumers and potential additional factors influencing the effectiveness of health nudges on food choices are examined. The research is based on a carefully designed online questionnaire with an integrated choice experiment, including three health nudging interventions (a healthier choice label, product positioning and a priming slogan) in the two product groups breakfast cereals and snacks. The findings indicate that all three interventions are effective in driving respondents towards healthier food choices for cereals products, while only the prime slogan leads to significantly healthier choices in the snacks product group. This illuminates the product group’s essential role for the effectiveness of the three nudges. Furthermore, considerable cross-national differences between the success of the nudges for German and Danish respondents could be observed, in that Germans are more easily nudged in the cereals product group. Additional factors, such as health motivation in food choices, education and income, also affect the impact of the nudges on the healthiness of respondents’ food choices. Implications from this pilot study include that the three interventions positively affect people’s food choices. However, a one-fits-all approach should be questioned when implementing nudges across countries. More targeted interventions, which also consider factors such as the product group or consumers’ education, hold the potential to enhance the effectiveness of the nudges. For this purpose, the online grocery environment offers the ideal arena with its flexibility to implement health nudges as well as possibilities to collect customer data.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10417/6262
Date: 2017-10-19
Pages: 138
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