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EMAC 2022 Annual

Healthy first, unhealthy out: the impact of health-based product sorting and product filtering on shopping basket healthiness

Published: May 24, 2022


David Olk, University of Groningen; Koert van Ittersum, University of Groningen; Tammo Bijmolt, University of Groningen


Consumption-related diseases pose an increasing threat to people’s health globally. When comparing product alternatives, many customers have difficulties identifying healthy options and suffer from information and choice overload. As a result, researchers and practitioners are searching for point-of-sale health interventions to prevent overload and promote healthier purchases, including front-of-package nutrition labels. Findings on the effectiveness of these labels motivating healthy purchases is mixed. In this study, we analyze to what extent a front-of-package nutrition label plus health-based product filtering and sorting on a retailer’s website can motivate healthy purchases. Our dataset includes over 1.23 million shopping baskets from a field experiment of an actual Dutch retailer’s website. While the presence of the nutrition label alone did not lead to healthier purchases, sorting and filtering products based on the label led to significantly healthier shopping baskets.