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Adjusting your food delivery app can cut calories purchased

Adjusting your food delivery app can cut calories purchased


Dublin — Not only is food delivery app changing how food choices and information are presented, but by default serving smaller portions to encourage healthier choices and reduce calorie intake by 4% to 15% possible, according to three new randomized trials from the UK.

Prominent positioning of low-calorie menu items and low-calorie staple restaurants on food apps is the most promising approach to promoting healthier eating, Anna Kelleher reports. Behavioral scientist at Nesta, MPA, London, UK, here at the European Obesity Conference (ECO) conference.

“Many meals eaten out are higher in calories than meals cooked at home, and using delivery apps increases the risk of being overweight or obese,” she said. “We are interested in understanding more about delivery apps because they can easily be changed at scale and interventions to promote healthier and more nutritious choices in these settings. can reach millions of people.”

The use of food delivery apps has surged in the UK, up 55% since 2015. Examples include Uber Eats, Just Eat, and Deliveroo. “The trend is similar in the U.S., where more consumers are turning to delivery apps to buy food,” said Kelleher, who is also a senior counsel on the Behavioral Insights team in New York.

Dr Emma Boyland, an obesity psychologist at the University of Liverpool, UK, said: “Apps are an increasingly popular way for people to buy food, and the way we get our meals, the virtual food environment is becoming more and more like a physical one. “It’s becoming as important as the food environment.” “

She stressed the need to understand more about how food apps change the way we buy and eat, but “research released today” shows that “not just brand names and images, It shows that the movement of food choices and the position of information has an impact. What do people ultimately buy and consume? “

“I think there is scope for interventions that challenge these issues and improve dietary health,” continued Boyland, who chaired the session where Kelleher presented the results. “But as we’ve seen with calorie labeling, it doesn’t always have the greatest effect on its own, so often, to make something meaningful, you have to incorporate all the elements of the environment into multiple We must take steps to make a difference.”

Three attempts to change the display of the simulated food delivery app

Filippo Bianchi, M.D., a colleague of Kelleher’s, said: “Delivery apps could reach millions of people and help them make healthier food choices, but they’re more likely to be in such situations. “Few studies have examined what works to promote healthy, nutritious choices.” In a press release issued by ECO.

Therefore, the research team developed a simulated food delivery app and asked 23,783 adults who normally use such services to choose their meals as if they were real food deliveries. A proof-of-concept test of a health promotion intervention was conducted. order.

“As a first step, we developed a simulated online food delivery platform to generate evidence on the efficacy of the intervention,” Kelleher explained, adding that the simulated platform includes 21 restaurants and about 600 types of food and drink. I pointed out that it includes items that you can choose from.

This study evaluated 14 interventions across 3 randomized controlled trials, demonstrating different food ordering choices that promoted low-calorie choices compared to controls. The trial investigated default choices (facilitating the selection of small portion sizes through defaults, n = 6000). Positioning (promoting choice of less calorie-dense options through positioning, n = 9003). Labeling (facilitating choice of low-calorie options through calorie labeling, n = 8780).

The primary outcome was the total number of calories in the basket at checkout. Results were adjusted to account for potential confounders such as BMI, age, gender and income.

Trials that encouraged small amounts by default found that “all of our interventions significantly reduced purchased calories, with effect sizes increasing with each additional intervention component, with a range of 6% to 13% reduction in calories.” bottom” [–5.5% to –12.5% kcal/order; P < .05]reported Kelleher.

In the second experiment, we changed the position of the items on the menu and the order of the restaurants. Effectively, low-calorie menu choices are more prominent, and restaurant choices that serve low-calorie entrees are now placed at the top of the restaurant selection page.

Kelleher said there was concern that the strategy would hurt the restaurant’s business, so they placed lower-calorie but higher-priced options near the top of the display to promote healthier options. We countered this by incorporating the option to do so, but at a loss of revenue for participating restaurants.

This last intervention, which placed low-calorie/high-priced options near the top, also led to a reduction in caloric intake.

“This showed that promoting low-calorie options doesn’t necessarily mean hurting business bottom line,” she said. “We hope the industry can evolve to meet the perceived needs of society and consumers.”

Relocating restaurants proved more effective than repositioning food items on the menu, but all interventions significantly reduced calories purchased. “The magnitude of the effect was his 6% to 15% reduction in calories purchased per order. [P < .05]reported Kelleher.

The final trial tested seven calorie labels. Four of them changed the label font size and position, and two added an on/off filter to switch the calorie label display. The last was a calorie overview at checkout.

“All of these standard calorie labels directionally reduce the number of excess calories at two labels. [options] reached statistical significance. Five of the seven labels significantly reduced purchased calories, with effect sizes ranging from 4.3% to -7.8% kcal per order (P. < .05),” reported Keleher.

“This research will be important for policy makers to help companies understand how best to display calorie labeling and what should be included in regulations and guidelines,” he summarized.

Investigating views on food delivery apps with a qualitative thinking voice survey

Another study by the same author, the Think-aloud study, also presented at ECO, consulted 20 adult delivery app users in the UK to explore how best to increase the effectiveness and acceptability of calorie labeling in food delivery apps. Did. .

Researchers attempted to document the range of views people hold about calorie labeling, including variability between humans and individuals.

“For example, on the weekends, some people may want to avoid calorie intake at all because they value self-rewards, but the same person may reduce the calorie content of their food at mid-week lunch. You might really want to be able to check,” Kelleher reported.

He also said considerations vary widely from person to person, explaining how calorie labeling affects the food ordering experience.

“Some felt the label supported their pre-existing intentions, while others felt the label built knowledge. There were people asking for more information, like macronutrients,” Kelleher said, quoting one participant.the situation i see [calories]. Look at the nutrients.i prefer the traffic light system [color-coding salt, fat, and sugar content]” relayed.

Key recommendations based on Think-aloud research include: Provide a filter that allows users to turn calorie labels on or off. Communicate recommended energy intake per meal (i.e. 600 kcal) as well as per day (i.e. 2000 kcal). Avoid framing calorie label messages and formats as judgmental (e.g., red font).

“These studies provide encouraging proof-of-concept evidence that small tweaks to delivery apps can help many people identify and make healthier food choices. “To assess the long-term impact of these interventions, it will be important to test similar efforts in real restaurants and delivery apps.” We also need to explore how best to balance the desired health effects while minimizing them,” Bianchi concluded.

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