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Using a divider nudge in supermarket shopping trolleys to increase fruit and vegetable purchases: A feasibility study using an intervention design

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posted on 2023-11-28, 03:04 authored by Gregory McGrathGregory McGrath
Fruit and vegetable (F&V) consumption is associated with a reduced risk of developing obesity and chronic diseases: however, only one in 16 Australian adults consume F&Vs at the recommended two servings of fruit and five servings of vegetables per day. What and how much people eat is influenced by their social and physical environments. Supermarkets are a key setting influencing food purchases, and as such, they can shape consumption patterns of F&Vs. Implementing effective strategies to increase F&V intake is crucial. The objective of this research was to test the feasibility of covertly modifying shopper purchasing behaviour to purchase more F&Vs using a visual divider nudge message (prompts) covering the entire base of shopping trolleys. Placards provided a visual representation of the recommended proportion of the trolley base that should be allocated to fruits and vegetables (implied social norm). Applying an intervention research design, 30 out of ~100 trolleys were fitted with the placards and shopper purchases were measured by collecting receipts to measure the weight (kg), total spending and F&V specific spending (Australian dollars) for intervention versus control trolleys for one weekend day only. We also conducted a short intercept survey that was administered independently from the research study day on non-trial shoppers. Shoppers who selected trolleys with the divider nudge placards (n = 102) purchased equal weight of F&Vs (Intervention: mean = 6.25 kg, SD = 5.60 kg, 95% CI = 5.14 kg, 7.35 kg, vs. Control: mean 6.03 kg, SD = 5.17 kg, 95% CI = 5.01 kg, 7.04 kg, p = 0.768) and spent equal amounts on F&Vs compared to shoppers in the control group (n = 102) (Intervention: mean = $41.46, SD = $36.68, 95% CI = $34.25, $48.66, vs. Control: mean $39.85, SD = $33.30, 95% CI = $33.34, $46.39, p = 0.744). There was no difference in the total spending between groups (Intervention: mean = $135.99, SD = $90.10, 95% CI = $118.29, $153.68, vs. Control: mean $155.68, SD = $96.46, 95% CI = $136.73, $174.63, p = 0.133). The divider nudge placard did not lead to any difference in shoppers' purchases of F&Vs. However, this study demonstrates the feasibility of testing a cheap, simple and easy supermarket nutrition intervention. Larger studies are required to elucidate and confirm these findings over the longer term.


This work was supported by an Australian Government Research Training Program Scholarship.


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Nutrition Bulletin











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© 2023 The Authors. Nutrition Bulletin published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of British Nutrition Foundation. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.

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