Report on tailored toolboxes to promote healthier food choice
A report by the World Health Organization (2009) points out that nutrition is coming to the fore as a major modifiable determinant of chronic disease. Scientific evidence is increasingly supporting the view that alterations in diet can have strong effects, both positive and negative, on health over a lifetime. But how do we support people to make healthier dietary choices, particularly those who are at the lower end of the income distribution and educational ladder, and seem to be particularly vulnerable to obesity?
Over the last decades, a vast body of work was done to evaluate the effects of various policy instruments targeting dietary choices. Information provision is one of the key policy instruments with large public investments in public information campaigns (see Capacci et al., 2012, for a review). A subset of countries implemented or will implement nationwide taxes on certain macronutrients such as fat or sugar, or provide subsidies for comparatively healthy products such as fruits and vegetables. Also, there is growing interest into reformulation of food and drinks reducing sugar, salt, and some types of fats. More recently, the literature in behavioral economics has inspired new instruments such as so-called “nudges” (Thaler & Sunstein, 2008), self-commitment schemes (or “self-nudges”), and the choice architecture of canteens to facilitate healthier choices (see Bauer & Reisch, 2018, for a review).
One of the main goals of the Nudge-it One of the main goals of the Nudge-it consortium is to develop tools to support the analysis and identification of biological, psychological, cognitive, and environmental mechanisms determining dietary choices. The present report compiles the main results of our research on possible anchors for policy intervention that were identified by the partners of the consortium. These anchors are the basis for a toolbox of seven different candidate policies to be applied, adapted, and optimized regarding the different behavioural targets as well as the different target groups.
Incentivised food choice tool
The Incentivised Food Choice Tool is a new low-cost computer-based method to elicit dietary choices in a quick and incentive compatible manner, which can be used on-line or as part of a laboratory study. The tool has been developed to mimic a typical online supermarket in order to provide a more natural and familiar setting for participants to make their food choices. A key benefit of the system is that it has been programmed using Microsoft Excel's native VBA language, meaning that it can be amended and customised to suit individual researcher requirements, while greatly facilitating the extraction of raw data.
Developed by Nudge-it researchers, the FoRC platform is a subject measurement program that provides researchers in Nutrition science and related fields with an easy to use and free alternative for commercial questionnaire and experiment management programs. The toolbox allows acquiring Food-Related subject Characteristics, in a standardized manner.
The FoRC platform comprises three components, the FoRC Toolbox, the Questionnaire Processor and the Test Battery. The FoRC Toolbox serves as a front-end for the open-source experiment builder OpenSesame. With the FoRC Toolbox you can easily generate, select, combine and run multiple existing questionnaires and tasks. The FoRC Toolbox comes with a Test Battery of questionnaires and tasks. The Questionnaire Processor can be used to process the log-files with raw data that are produced by the FoRC Toolbox.
Download the FoRC toolbox and user manual
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