Vegetable interventions at unconventional occasions: the effect of freely available snack vegetables at workplace meetings on consumption

Victor Immink*, Marcel Kornelis, Ellen Van Kleef

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Snacks at work are often of poor dietary quality. The main objective of the current study is to examine the effect of making vegetable snacks available at workplace meetings on consumption. Design/methodology/approach: In three between-subjects field experiments conducted at a hospital and three ministries in the Netherlands, with meeting as the unit of condition assignment, attendees were exposed to an assortment of vegetables, varying in vegetable variety and presence of promotional leaflet in study 1 (N = 136 meetings), serving container in study 2 (N = 88 meetings) and additional presence of cookies in study 3 (N = 88 meetings). Consumption of vegetables and cookies was measured at meeting level to assess grams consumed per person. Findings: Across the three studies, average consumption per meeting attendee was 74 g (SD = 43) for study 1; 78 g (SD = 43) for study 2 and 87 g (SD = 35) for study 3. In the first study, manipulation of perceived variety and information leaflets did not affect intake. In the second study, significantly more vegetables were eaten when they were offered in single sized portions (M = 97 g, SD = 45) versus in a shared multiple portions bowl (63 g, SD = 38) (p < 0.001). In the third study, no effect was found of the additional availability of cookies on vegetable consumption during the meeting. Practical implications: The present studies show how availability of vegetables at unconventional occasions makes meeting attendants consume considerable portions of vegetables on average. As such, offering healthy snacks at the workplace may be a valuable part of workplace health promotion programs and positively change the “office cake culture”. Originality/value: Vegetable intake is less than recommended in many countries worldwide. Many snacking occasions are at work, which makes office meetings a potential consumption occasion to encourage vegetable intake. Hence, the aim of this study is to examine whether free availability of vegetable snacks during meetings contributes to their consumption among meeting attendees and under what conditions consumption is optimal.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Workplace Health Management
Volume14
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2021

Keywords

  • Availability
  • Meeting
  • Nudge
  • Vegetable intake
  • Workplace intervention

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