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Tilburg University and Nakko Nudging help consumers make healthier choices

For the corresponding ‘Instore digital nudgingThe research used one of the retail customer apps developed by Nakko. The positive results of the research point in the direction of a positive contribution of nudging to making healthier choices.

During the study period, different versions of the self-scan function were compared. When someone scanned a product that is not healthy according to the current Nutrition Center guidelines (eg white bread), the participant received a message with a suggestion for a healthier product (eg wholemeal bread). This alternative was shown either without additional nudge, or with an icon or text highlighting the health of the alternative. In addition, there was a control condition where no alternative product was shown. Incidentally, the original choice was not removed or shown in an extra disadvantageous manner.

The research showed that the proportion of purchased healthy products was higher when an alternative was shown compared to when no alternative was shown. This suggests that showing an alternative could lead to relatively more healthy choices. The results are currently being further developed into a publication.

Nudging“Is a psychological method to promote or counteract certain behavior with ‘a little push’, without limiting the choice of the people targeted by these measures or influencing them with substantive arguments. Each individual retains his or her freedom of choice, but subtle signals, often unconsciously, make the desired behavior more attractive.

Nynke van der Laan, associate professor of Digital Health Communication: ‘Healthy food choices often require a trade-off between a very attractive option that provides an immediate reward, such as a tasty but unhealthy snack, and an option that offers a large future reward. Someone may have the intention of eating a healthy diet, but still buy an unhealthy product on impulse. New technologies can intervene in these choice processes at all times, which was previously impossible. With the adjustments in the hand scan function examined here, you can give very direct feedback on someone’s behavior, of course with their approval. ‘ The research is particularly interesting because little is known about the possibilities of applying digital Nudges in the purchasing process in the physical world.

Nakko develops the mobile application for various supermarket chains that consumers use to do their weekly shopping. Because mobile apps are becoming an increasingly important part of the purchasing process, this offers good opportunities to help consumers make healthier choices, for example. Nakko hopes to gain more insight into the way in which consumers compile their shopping list and what the choices are based on.

Director Len Clabbers: ‘As an application partner, we like to contribute our expertise in the field of healthier or more environmentally conscious living in addition to our technical knowledge. If we can make those choices a bit easier for the user with the design of the supermarket app, that is a logical step for us in the development of the best possible app for our customers. Through the collaboration with Tilburg University, we can acquire focused and scientifically substantiated knowledge that we can use to improve our apps. This offers our supermarket customers the opportunity to help their consumers, for example, to buy low-calorie or organic food more often. ‘

Nynke van der Laan of Tilburg University: ‘This collaboration makes it possible to test whether the health communication and nudges that we expect to be effective from research in the lab can actually stimulate healthy choice in reality.’
(PvWK, image: Unsplash)

About Nakko:
‘Nakko is a full service mobile agency for the retail sector, among others. Its innovative and creative ability are coupled with technical expertise to produce mobile solutions that deliver success to its customers. The founders of Nakko have been active in the mobile industry for over 20 years and have extensive experience with app development for retailers. ‘

(source: Nakko)

About DCC / Tilburg University:
The Department of Communication and Cognition (DCC) studies cognitive and social aspects of human communication in a multidisciplinary approach that combines careful experimentation with questionnaire research, corpus analysis and computational models. Central research areas include: communication and technology, intercultural communication, information visualization, marketing and corporate communication, language production and non-verbal communication. ‘

(source: Tilburg University)

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