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  • 226, that's the number of decisions

  • we make about food every day, according to a 2007 Cornell

  • University study.

  • The physical and symbolic environment

  • in which we make these decisions is called choice architecture,

  • a phrase coined in 2008 by behavioural economists Richard

  • Thaler and Cass Sunstein.

  • Adjustments to choice architecture encourage people

  • towards certain behaviours, that's nudge theory.

  • The smell of baking in a supermarket and sweets

  • by the checkout, these are nudges.

  • But can nudging be harnessed to promote food sustainability?

  • In 2012, a study at Indiana University

  • showed that by removing trays from the student canteen

  • and reducing the surface area for diners to fill,

  • 18 per cent less food was wasted.

  • Language can have an impact.

  • For plant-based meals, the words,

  • 'meat-free', and 'vegan' may signal a social identity that

  • many don't aspire to.

  • Recent trials conducted by the World Resources Institute

  • found that when Sainsbury's meat-free sausage and mash was

  • renamed Cumberland spiced veggie sausages and mash,

  • sales increased by 76 per cent.

  • But critics of consumer nudging say

  • it avoids tackling the hole in the food chain.

  • The UK's Behavioural Insights Team,

  • a government backed company that uses psychology to try

  • to change public behaviour, is looking at double nudges to be

  • introduced through policy.

  • These would be aimed at consumers,

  • yet also encourage businesses to change.

  • An example of this is the UK's 2018 sugar tax on soft drinks.

  • Customers have to pay the tax, but as a result,

  • companies dropped the sugar content of their drinks

  • by almost 30 per cent per 100 mil to keep prices down.

  • The supermarket sustainability rating system

  • could function in a similar way and is being considered

  • by Behavioural Insights.

  • It would give food retailers a clear overall sustainability

  • score so consumers would only need to make one sustainability

  • decision over where to shop instead of considering

  • each individual product.

  • Subconsciously, people are more receptive to habit alterations

  • in times of upheaval, as the world

  • is experiencing right now due to the coronavirus.

  • For that reason behavioural scientists

  • see this moment as a potentially exciting window for change.

226, that's the number of decisions

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B2 US FinancialTimes sustainability cent mash supermarket architecture

Behavioural nudging: an effective way to promote food sustainability? | FT Food Revolution

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    joey joey posted on 2021/04/24
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