This trial is active, not recruiting.

Condition obesity
Treatments nutrition facts automatically or not automatically displayed, nutrition facts in color, nutrition facts label in larger font, healthier items first
Sponsor University of Vermont
Start date August 2015
End date August 2018
Trial size 400 participants
Trial identifier NCT02489396, 029898


Rationale: Online-grocery shopping is predicted to be one of the "hottest" food trends of 2014, as national retailers such as Amazon, as well as start-up companies, venture into the e- commerce grocery sector. Importantly, the online-grocery environment could be uniquely manipulated to promote healthier food purchasing and help with weight control. Since consumers tend to choose items listed first on menus and buffet lines, the order of food products displayed on the grocer's website may impact purchasing. Furthermore, it's possible that in an online-grocery environment, nutrition information could be made more salient to consumers. For example, previous research has demonstrated that label color influences perceptions of the healthfulness of foods. The FDA also recently proposed a redesign of foods' nutrition facts panels, which would highlight calorie content in a larger font. Although implementing this label change on all food labels could take years, e-commerce sites could change the format of the nutritional information they display much more quickly.

Objectives: The proposed study intends to nudge consumers to make healthier grocery purchases through three distinct interventions: 1.) Manipulating the order of food items within grocery categories; 2.) Displaying product nutrition information in red or green; and 3.) Presenting calorie information in a larger font size. We propose to examine these concepts in adult consumers using a grocery e-commerce platform servicing socioeconomically and racially diverse communities in the northeastern U.S.

United States No locations recruiting
Other countries No locations recruiting

Study Design

Time perspective prospective
All customers who shop on the Rosie site during the intervention period.
nutrition facts automatically or not automatically displayed
For two months nutrition information on the Rosie site will be displayed in a "tab" that consumers can click on to display the nutrition facts panels of products. Investigators will use NuVal scores to determine the fifteen "healthiest," and fifteen "least healthy" items in six grocery categories; chips, cookies, cereal & breakfast, yogurt, ice cream, and frozen pizza. We will then compare the number of clicks on nutrition information for healthier versus less healthy items to determine if there's a possibility of willful ignorance coming into play when choosing to purchase less healthy items.
nutrition facts in color
For two months the font on products' nutrition facts labels will be displayed in red or green. For this proof-of-concept intervention, the color of a label's display will be determined randomly, in order to gather a clearer picture of whether label color could be leveraged to influence product choice. Items in each grocery category will be randomly assigned to receive green or red labels during the intervention period, so 50% of products in each category have red nutrition facts labels, and 50% have green nutrition facts labels. We will then compare proportions of green to red items purchased during the intervention period with the proportion of those same items purchased during the baseline period, when all labels were in black font.
nutrition facts label in larger font
For two months the serving size and calorie lines on the nutrition facts labels will be displayed in a larger font for every item on the Rosie site. Average calories in customer purchases will be quantified using purchase data, and the average calories for online-grocery orders during baseline and intervention periods will be compared.
healthier items first
For two months, instead of the product popularity default-display option in the online store, thirty healthier items will be displayed on the first page in each grocery category. All grocery categories where there is scoring variation between healthy and less-healthy options (i.e. cereal, chips, bakery, sauces, etc.) will be included in the intervention. The thirty-targeted healthy items will be identified using NuVal scores. NuVal scores will not actually be displayed as part of the shopping site, and will be used exclusively as a guide to systematically determine targeted items in each food category. The proportion of targeted healthy items purchased in each category versus non-targeted items purchased during the intervention will be compared to the proportion of targeted vs. non-targeted items purchased during the baseline period.

Primary Outcomes

Food Purchasing of targeted items
time frame: Continuously throughout the intervention expected average of 52 weeks
Click Rate of targeted food items
time frame: Continuously throughout the intervention expected average of 52 weeks
Nutrient Analysis of Food Purchased by consumers
time frame: Continuously throughout the intervention expected average of 52 weeks

Eligibility Criteria

Male or female participants of any age.

Inclusion Criteria: - Shopping on a Rosie grocery site Exclusion Criteria: - No exclusion criteria, all orders will be eligible

Additional Information

Official title Promoting Healthier Food Purchases By Leveraging the Online-Grocery Environment
Trial information was received from ClinicalTrials.gov and was last updated in October 2016.
Information provided to ClinicalTrials.gov by University of Vermont.