As obesity rates continue to rise in the United States, there is an increasing need for new ideas and solutions to combat this worrisome epidemic. This study targets the food purchase behavior of consumers by attempting to sway their food choices using various “nudges,” or alterations in choice architecture. Participants were exposed to various interventions that were applied to product images on a fake grocery store website. Participants that fit inclusion criteria of being 18 years or older were recruited through survey-taking groups found on Reddit and Facebook. After randomization into either the control or intervention group, participants took a Google Forms survey that included five different categories of food. The intervention group was exposed to five different interventions, each category of food receiving a single intervention. The control group was exposed to unaltered images. Responses to this survey were dichotomized and used in a logistic regression analysis after adjusting for age, sex, ethnicity, and race. Data analysis revealed that there were no significant differences in Researcher-Labelled Healthy/Researcher-Labelled Unhealthy food choice between the control and intervention group (p > .05). Significant differences were found by sex, race, and ethnicity for some, but not all, interventions. The goal of this research was to reveal if these nudges could persuade consumers into purchasing specific foods, and to consider this method as a way to encourage healthier eating. The results of this study should be used to continue conversations and research regarding obesity alleviation efforts by targeting the online grocery shopping experience
Tobin, Abby, "This or That?: A Study of Online Supermarket Interventions and Their Ability to Influence Healthy Food Choices" (2021). Honors Theses - Providence Campus. 49.