Behavioural & Cognitive Sciences

How to support healthy and sustainable grocery shopping to achieve a healthy and sustainable diet?

The department of Behavioural & Cognitive Sciences launches a new mobile application to support people achieve a healthier and more sustainable diet. The HealthStainable app gives clear indications on nutritional values and CO2 footprint while grocery shopping to support better choices.

A healthy diet is the main priority for most people, but sustainability has been gaining more and more attention when deciding what to eat. Is it possible to support both? Eating healthy does not mean your meals are sustainable and vice vera. If people had the right tools to make informed decisions about their food, what would their preferences?  Will they choose mainly the healthy options, will they go for sustainability, or will they opt for a compromise between the two?

Grocery shopping: a major step towards a healthy and sustainable diet

Up to now the focus of most support tools like smartphone applications to help with deciding what groceries to buy and what to cook has been on health. Recipe applications with nutritional information and calorie counters are widely available. In contrast to this, recipe applications that provide a combination of nutritional values and CO2 footprint of food products are rare. Considering that sustainability plays an increasingly important role in many people’s individual diet, particularly amongst younger people, it is important to take this development into account and to offer information how this can be achieved.

An app to support better choices

To motivate people to buy more healthy and sustainable grocery products a mobile application indicating in a simple way the nutritional values and CO2 footprint can support better choices. This is why the HealthStainable study built an intuitive recipe and grocery shopping app which offers additional information on nutritional values and CO2 footprint. This makes possible to simultaneously engage people in changing their lifestyle towards a more healthy and sustainable diet, while at the same time assessing their grocery shopping behaviour. The application also presents daily questionnaires, that enable continuous assessment through self-reporting and will allow comparing the answers with the recorded actual use of the application.
The HealthStainable study Influencing human behaviour in a desired way, however, requires more aspects to be considered than just presenting nutritional values and CO2 footprint information. To create a comprehensive smartphone application with the goal of optimally supporting grocery shopping, a theoretical behavioural model was developed integrating several well established behavioural theories. Such an approach gives the opportunity to overcome shortcomings of more focused individual models and is able to take a broad range of relevant aspects of behaviour into account.

Join the study

Everybody interested in a healthy and sustainable diet is welcome to participate in the study.
The application can be found on Google play.

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