Food consumption research


Nudging towards healthier eating

Gepubliceerd op
10 oktober 2013

A great deal of fundamental food consumption research performed with parties such as Wageningen University and the Top Institute Food and Nutrition is relevant for potential nudging interventions.

Although the research was often not performed in this framework, it shows that consumers who take smaller bites eat around 30% less than those who take big bites, without them feeling less full. People automatically take smaller bites if a food product has a stronger taste or aroma or when the texture is thicker (1) (2). Perhaps they take smaller bites unconsciously to make the food sensations less intense.

In addition to smaller bites, a slower eating pace, for example as a result of taking more time to chew, also results in a reduced intake (3). These results could be used for nudging interventions in which consumers are unconsciously nudged to take smaller bites; for instance by providing smaller cutlery, increasing the temperature of food, or increasing the food’s intensity of taste. Extending the chewing time could be achieved, for example, by adding harder pieces, or by using food ingredients that break down more slowly in the mouth.

These types of nudges could contribute to a reduced (and therefore healthier) daily food intake. As this reduction probably doesn’t come with an increased sense of hunger, these nudge interventions are more likely to be successful than dietary interventions.

1. Wijk, R.A. de, et. al. / Physiology and Behaviour 95(3), (2008) 527-532.
2. Wijk, R.A. de, et al./ Food aroma affects bite size. Flavour, (2012) 1:3.
3. Bolhuis, D.P., et. al./ Journal of Nutrition, (2011): 141(12) 2242-8.