Using Social Comparisons to Facilitate Healthier Choices in Online Grocery Shopping Contexts


by Blake DiCosola, Professor Gina Neff



This exploratory research examines how we might nudge consumers towards making healthier food choices in online grocery shopping or other digitally mediated food consumption contexts. Our pilot study investigated how different forms of social comparisons could be used to encourage consumers to reduce the number of calories contained in their online grocery basket. Our findings show that participants who were less interested in trying new diets were more willing to reduce calories when presented with a comparison to people unlike them, an out-group member comparison, while those who were interested in trying new diets were more willing to reduce calories regardless of social comparison type. These findings imply that one size does not fit all when nudging. More research is needed to see how social comparisons influence the effectiveness of digital health behavior projects.



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