It Takes Some Effort: How Minimal Physical Effort Reduces Consumption Volume.

Bern University of Applied Sciences, HAFL, Food Science & Management, Laenggasse 85, CH-3052 Zollikofen, Switzerland.
Appetite (Impact Factor: 2.69). 08/2013; 71. DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2013.07.014
Source: PubMed


Plenty of studies have demonstrated that effort influences food choice. However, few have been conducted to analyze the effect of effort on consumption volume. Moreover, the few studies that have measured consumption volume all have strong limitations. The goal of the present paper is to disentangle confounding variables in earlier research and to rule out various alternative explanations. In a tasting setting focusing on snacking behavior, either unwrapping a food product or grabbing it with sugar tongs was enough to significantly reduce consumption, regardless of whether an unhealthy or healthy food item was used. Hardly any cognitive resources seem to be necessary for the effect to occur, as cognitive load did not affect the findings. In light of obesity being a pressing concern, these findings might be valuable for individuals as well as for the food industry.

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    • "Increasing the availability of healthy snacks (75% versus 25%) enhanced the probability of choosing them, whereas the position on the shelf (top or bottom) had no effect on snack selection (van Kleef, Otten, & van Trijp, 2012). In addition, the effort of unwrapping a food product or grabbing it with sugar tongs reduced consumption of fruity (apricot) and chocolate snacks (Brunner, 2013). "
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    ABSTRACT: The influence of product position in a row of three similar snacks with varying calorie contents was examined in a sample of 120 students (equal numbers of males and females). Three equally sized, real cereal snack bars were arranged on a vendor’s tray in three identical boxes. Two conditions were used. In the control condition, the three boxes of snack bars were positioned from left to right in ascending order of calorie content (apple/lowest calorie content = left position; apple-chocolate/high calorie content = middle position; coco-chocolate/highest calorie content = right position). In the experimental condition (nudged group), the left and middle box positions were exchanged (apple-chocolate/high calorie content = left position; apple/lowest calorie content = middle position; and coco-chocolate/highest calorie content = right position). There was a significant effect of position on participants’ snack bar selections (χ2(2) = 14.953, p = 0.001). When the apple bar was positioned on the left, it was selected 13.3% of the time (8/60), and when it was positioned in the middle, it was selected 36.3% of the time (22/60). There was no gender effect (χ2(2) = 0.713, p = 0.70). The apple bar with lowest calorie content was selected almost three times more often when it was placed in the middle than when it was placed on the left. Changing the physical placement of the snack improved snack choices. Rearranging snacks on shelves and checkout counters in grocery stores or vending machines in schools might be an easy, inexpensive and effective intervention measure to improve consumers’ snack choices.KeywordsNudgingFood choicePosition effect
    No preview · Article · Apr 2015 · Food Quality and Preference