The report in which the scores were listed (‘Superlijst Gezondheid 2020’) is a bi-yearly report comparing supermarket chains with regards to how they help consumers to make the healthy and sustainable choice. The ‘Superlijst Gezondheid 2020’ is the result of a collaborative project by Questionmark and the Diabetes, Heart, Gastrointestinal and Kidney Foundations aimed to investigate how Dutch supermarkets stimulate consumers to make food choices that fit within a healthy diet.
Supreme Nudge project helps customers make healthy food choices in supermarkets
The report concluded that supermarkets mostly promote unhealthy foods through the supermarket layout, advertising brochures and the product share. However, several supermarket chains have made an effort to make the supermarket environment more healthy. For example, the Ekoplaza and Lidl promote the highest amount of healthy products in their advertising brochures, Dirk van den Broek does not sell unhealthy products at the check-out counters and the Coop offers healthy food recipes and participates in experiments to support consumers to buy healthier products.
Collaboration with Coop supermarket
The fact that Coop did well in this benchmarking project is of no surprise to the project leader of the Supreme Nudge project APH researcher Joline Beulens (professor of Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Disease Epidemiology at Amsterdam UMC): “We have been collaborating with Coop, a cooperative supermarket chain, for three years now. Corporate social responsibility is important to their customer base, which allowed for an alignment between the interests of us as researchers and Coop as commercial party.” The Supreme Nudge project aims to improve cardiometabolic health among individuals with a lower socio-economic position.
APH researcher Josine Stuber (PhD candidate at Amsterdam), responsible for implementing the ‘real life trial’, says: “In January 2021, a trial will start in various Coop supermarkets where researchers will alter the supermarket environment to promote healthy products (i.e. nudges), decrease the prices of healthy products and increase the prices of unhealthy products. Additionally, participants will receive a mobile app that provides real-time and context-specific feedback on physical activity, in order to increase their step-count.” The intervention components were designed in co-creation between researchers and Coop to benefit population health and to not negatively affect Coop’s revenue. Therefore, if proven effective, the intervention could quickly be scaled up to other supermarkets.
Before implementing possibly ineffective nudging and pricing strategies in real-world supermarkets, we designed a virtual supermarket
The co-creation of intervention components has been informed by several pilot studies. APH researcher Jody Hoenink (PhD candidate at Amsterdam UMC), describes one of her pilot studies: “A lot of resources are needed to implement nudging and pricing strategies in supermarkets. Therefore, before implementing possibly ineffective nudging and pricing strategies in real-world supermarkets, we designed a virtual supermarket that reflected a Coop store. In this virtual experiment we found that a combination of several nudging and pricing strategies was more effective to promote healthy food purchases than implementing nudges or price promotions only.”
More information on the Supreme Nudge website.