Nudging healthy eating in Dutch sports canteens: A multi-method case study

Merije van Rookhuijzen*, Emely de Vet

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Objective:To provide a micro-investigation into the long-term effects and process of implementation of a nudge intervention on food choice in sports canteens.Design:Multi-method case study.Setting:Eight products were added to the range of foods and drinks in two football canteens in the Netherlands for 3 and 15 weeks, serving as a baseline period. In the intervention period, these products were promoted with the use of salience, scarcity, availability and default nudges, for 26 and 16 weeks, respectively. Aside from the collection of sales and revenue data, reach, acceptability, adherence and applicability were measured using observations, questionnaires and interviews.Participants:Questionnaires were filled in by seventy and fifty-nine visitors of the canteens. Four interviews were held with board members and canteen personnel.Results:Mixed results were obtained regarding the suitability of nudges to be used to promote healthy eating in sports clubs. Sales and revenue data did show positive trends, the intervention was seen as acceptable by all stakeholders and the intervention had a large reach. However, adherence to the intervention in both canteens and the effects of the nudges on the total consumption pattern were low. Factors were identified that promoted or hindered the intervention at an individual, interventional and organisational level.Conclusions:Nudges seem to be a valuable addition to other efforts to combat unhealthy eating. However, the extent of their impact as a single intervention tool is limited in the current food-abundant environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)327-337
Number of pages11
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Issue number2
Early online date15 Sept 2020
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • Case study
  • Choice architecture
  • Eating behaviour
  • Implementation
  • Nudging
  • Public health


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