The measuring, understanding and influencing of food choice behaviour among consumers is one of the key aspects of the research carried out at the Restaurant of the Future. Nudging contributes to this process and literally means giving someone a push (a nudge) in the right direction. Nudges stimulate a specific product choice in a non-coercive way by making changes to the surroundings in which choices are made. Examples include directing visual attention towards the desired choice, making the desired choice easier to make than others, or unconsciously increasing the appetite for a specific product. An important aspect is that consumers are free in making their eventual choice.
Within the context of food choice behaviour, nudging is currently being used to steer consumers towards a healthy and/or sustainable choice. Various options are available for implicitly steering consumers, either in terms of the environment (aroma, sound, light, position of the product on the shelf or in relation to other products) or the product (such as providing specific information with a product).
The (implicit) influencing of consumer behaviour through nudging demands fine-tuning. To different degrees consumers are sensitive to behavioural changes or certain types of steering. It has often been shown in practice that a nudge which was successful in one situation or for one consumer group had a different effect or none at all in another situation or for another consumer group.
Research into the effectiveness of nudges is essential in order to gain a better insight into the underlying motives. It is important to study whether and to what extent specific nudges are effective, and gain a better insight into the underlying reasons. This way, nudges can be adapted to various individual consumers and/or moments.
In the Restaurant of the Future we have built up lots of experience in nudging research, especially regarding the use of aromas, light, product information and positioning and product framing. Nudging is the focal point of three PPS (public and private cooperation) research projects that are being performed in and outside of the Restaurant of the Future this year. See also the Related information below.