Nudging Customers towards Healthier Choices: An Intervention in the University Canteen

  •  Katarzyna Chapman    
  •  Jane Ogden    


The notion of nudge effects was investigated in two field experiments which focused on influencing customers’ purchases by manipulating the location and availability of food in a University canteen setting. Study 1 manipulated the location of fruit and confectionary. Study 2 restricted the types of bread (i.e. brown only not white) that customers could choose for their sandwiches. The results of the Study1 showed that the fruit sales increased when positioned away from the checkouts. The majority of interviewed customers bought fruit intentionally but those who bought confectionary did it on impulse. In the Study 2, a restricted choice of baguettes did not reduce sales, with customers simply buying more brown baguettes. This increase did not persist after the intervention. Simple changes in the location and availability of food items can nudge the customers’ purchases towards the choice of healthier options. There may be different processes that guide the purchase of fruit (intention/deliberation) and confectionary (impulse/reflex).

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