Global F&V Newsletter

Nudges and food consumption behaviours


Recently, scholars from all over the world have been examining tools and methodologies to improve dietary intake among people to improve health and well-being. One of the most popular methodology is nudging, with various outcomes, based on the famous book by Thaler and Sunstein (2009). The theoretical and political philosophy concept that lies behind nudging is libertarian paternalism, stating that it is possible to affect behavior in a positive way in order to make people healthier or happier, respecting people’s freedom of choice and autonomy but directing them indirectly towards a better decision. Using human’s decision errors and cognitive biases to motivate people to buy unhealthy food products, can also be used to reverse the trend of obesity and promote healthier foods, is the underlying thought. In times of increasing obesity rates and related rises in health service utilization and costs, a public debate on advertising techniques that attempt to persuade people to eat healthier and consume more fruit and vegetables, seems timely. Execution of effective healthy food promotion activities like nudges will require bold action by policymakers by implementing effective interventions to increase the promotion of healthier foods and as a consequence increase people’s health and wellbeing on the longterm. This issue of The Global Fruit & Veg Newsletter shares three articles that further demonstrate the effect of nudges on food consumption behaviours.