New study finds that moving the location of fruit and vegetables in shops can lead to a 15 percent sales increase. The findings of the study are published in the journal BMC Public Health.
- Moving location of fruit and vegetables in shops can lead to 15% sales increase
- Sales increased without any further messaging or marketing
- Research suggests a simple "nudge" can lead to healthier diets for young adults
- Findings based on data collected between 2012-17 in a real University campus grocery store
The finding follows the analysis of purchases from a real shop in which the location of the produce was changed with no further advertising or messaging added to encourage customers suggesting that a simple "nudge" can encourage increased fruit and vegetable consumption without any conscious action by the consumer.
‘A new study suggests that a simple 'nudge' can encourage increased fruit and vegetable consumption without any conscious action by consumers.’
The changes to the location of the fruit and vegetables within the shop, Warwick's own Rootes Grocery Store, saw them being moved to closer to the store's entrance. This decision had been made without either the aim of conducting a research experiment or to purposefully encourage a healthier diet.
Instead, the research, led by Dr. Oyinlola Oyebode of Warwick Medical School, was conducted only after the researchers had heard about the changes and were keen to investigate whether they had had any effect on fruit and vegetable purchasing.
Rootes Grocery StoreThe researchers collected data from the shop tills (from January 2012 to July 2017) to examine sales before, during and after changes to the store's layout.
From the collected data the researchers found that after the layout changes there was an increase in the percentage of the store's total sales that were fruit and vegetables, both regarding items sold and by the value of total sales. They bought approximately 15% more fruit and vegetables that would have been expected without the intervention.
The researchers also found that the increase in fruit and vegetable sales following their new location may be maintained over time meaning that such a change may be a viable method of improving the nutritional quality of the diets of young adults, at a time when there is existing evidence for a declining fruit and vegetable consumption in that age group.
This suggests that a statistically significant and maintained increase in fruit and vegetable purchases by young adults could be achieved through "nudge" techniques and without the need for advertising or overt message campaigns.
Commenting on the research, Dr. Oyebode said:
"We looked at whether a change in the layout of a campus supermarket changed students' purchasing and we found that it did. Making the fruit and vegetables more accessible increased the amount of fruit and vegetables that were purchased.
"This is exciting because, while we all know eating fruit and vegetables is healthy, supporting people to increase their fruit and vegetable consumption has been more complicated.
"This "nudge" intervention in a young adult population, is particularly appropriate because it doesn't restrict choice, and it doesn't require any conscious action by the young adult."
The research findings have impacted the decisions made by the store featured in the research. One of the co-researchers Tony Howard and Warwick's Director of Food and Retail Strategy said:
"Having found this result, we plan to support our students to eat healthily by keeping fruit and vegetables accessible in our campus grocery store."