Research tells us that people make food choices based on many different factors – and there is a growing body of research that suggests food choices are influenced by much more than personal preference and food price.
When it comes to food, environmental cues, or “nudges” such as signage, colors, packaging and product placement, have all been identified as factors that can influence consumer choice. These seemingly passive and low or no-cost interventions within the food environment can therefore be considered as possible mechanisms to help encourage healthy food choices without direct interaction or “shoves.”
Within the Feeding America food bank network, there is increased interest in applying nudge interventions to food bank and food pantry environments. Nudge interventions can both provide nutrition education and assist in moving more Foods to Encourage, and again, are often low in cost and can have a large impact on behavior.
Food banks and other emergency food providers use a wide range of nutrition education strategies – from handouts to classes – to promote healthy food choices in the communities they serve. Some have made simple changes to food distribution environments that “nudge” clients to select healthier options. While each of these strategies can be used alone, they have the maximum impact when used together to reinforce core messages.
The Healthy Food Bank Hub provides a platform of evaluated tools and resources, showcases existing best practices and nutrition initiatives, and engages health and nutrition professionals to help fight hunger while promoting health. The Hub is an excellent resource for all members of our network because all information included is tailored specifically toward the food banking community.
SNAP-Ed Connection features a variety of tools related to eating better on a budget. Materials are available in English and Spanish, and include such topics as Eat Right When Money’s Tight, Nutrition through the Seasons, and Recipe Finder.
MyPlate (also available in Spanish here) provides practical information to individuals, health professionals, nutrition educators, and the food industry to help consumers build healthier diets with resources and tools for dietary assessment, nutrition education, and other user-friendly nutrition information.