University of Twente Student Theses


Influencing Healthy Food Choices in the Supermarket: an Experimental Study using Virtual Reality

Vissers, K.J.D. (2018) Influencing Healthy Food Choices in the Supermarket: an Experimental Study using Virtual Reality.

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Abstract:Due to the complex nature of consumer decision-making, consumers often choose hedonic products over healthy food in the supermarket. People are unconsciously relying on habits and heuristics, making them susceptible to environmental influences. Because of the indicated effect of social factors and shelf arrangement, this study investigated the influence of these factors on the healthiness of food choices. The combination of a health-associated social presence cue and spacious supermarket shelves was expected to have the most positive influence. The research was conducted using an innovative VR set-up to create a realistic setting. In the 2 x 2 design, 80 participants performed a shopping task in a VR supermarket. Participants were asked about usability, general health interest, subjective health norm and perceived healthiness. Mean health scores were calculated for the five chosen products. Results indicated that shelf arrangement did not have an effect, and social presence influenced the food choices negatively. General health interest did have a positive impact, but did not moderate the relationship of social presence and food choice as was expected. Further research is needed to explore environmental influences on food choice. Continued development of the VR supermarket should increase its realism as a controllable research context.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:05 communication studies, 77 psychology
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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