Online Nudging Leads to 7% Higher Sales of Fruit and Vegetables

With the Ga Voor Kleur Lab (Choose Colour Lab),  the Dutch NAGF (National Fruit and Vegetable Action Plan) has investigated how buying fruit and vegetables can be stimulated using nudging: little pushes in the right direction to change behaviour. Does nudging work for online shoppers? The answer is yes. With an increase of 7% in vegetable and 6% in fruit purchases, this second Ga Voor Kleur Lab with Hoogvliet Supermarket has shown that nudging in an online environment can be very effective!

The online Ga Voor Kleur Lab

During 6 weeks in May and June 2021, visitors of the Hoogvliet website or app were randomly assigned to an intervention group (who were shown the nudges) and a control group. A number of different nudges were applied, including add to card suggestions and  plant-based recipes. Future of Food Institute analysed more than 10.000 purchases consisting of hundreds of thousands of products to understand the effects of the nudges that were applied.

What were the results?

The results of the study were very positive:

  • the nudging group bought 7% more vegetables and 6% more fruit. Both in volume and units.
  • the number of varieties of vegetables bought increased by 7%.
  • the total number of customers buying fruit and vegetables was only slightly higher in the nudging group for fruit, by 3%.

Though the design of the study doesn’t allow for in depth analysis of the effects of most individual nudges. However one nudge that positively stands out is the addition of add-to-cart suggestions. This was especially the case for really relevant combinations, such as iceberg lettuce with shawarma bread or kiwi with yoghurt.

Measuring customer experience

Finally, a small fraction of online customers were surveyed to measure perception of the nudges and the effects on the customer experience. This showed that 15% of respondents were aware of the extra attention paid to vegetables and fruit. The vast majority thought it was a good thing and only a small minority thought it was annoying (8%). In particular, normative nudges such as the ‘fruit and vegetable meter’ were found to cause irritation in a small number of cases. This shows that the more subtle the nudge, the less likely it is to cause resistance. It also stresses the necessity to keep track of the user experience and make sure it doesn’t suffer from nudges that are too conspicuous.

Read more here (in Dutch).

Download the full report here (in English).

Download the short report here (in English).



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