The impact of altering restaurant and menu option position on food selected from an experimental food delivery platform: a randomised controlled trial.
Bianchi F., Luick M., Bandy L., Bone J., Kelly S., Farrington J., Leung J., Mottershow A., Murar F., Jebb SA., Harper H., Pechey R.
BACKGROUND: Overconsumption is one of the most serious public health challenges in the UK and has been linked to increased consumption of food ordered through delivery platforms. This study tested whether repositioning foods and/or restaurant options in a simulated food delivery platform could help to reduce the energy content of users' shopping basket. METHODS: UK adult food delivery platform users (N = 9,003) selected a meal in a simulated platform. Participants were randomly allocated to a control condition (choices listed randomly) or to one of four intervention groups, (1) food options listed in ascending order of energy content, (2) restaurant options listed in ascending order of average energy content per main meal, (3) interventions 1 and 2 combined (4) interventions 1 and 2 combined, but food and restaurant options repositioned based on a kcal/price index to display options lower in energy but higher in price at the top. Gamma regressions assessed the impact of interventions on total energy content of baskets at checkout. RESULTS: The energy content of participants' baskets in the control condition was 1382 kcals. All interventions significantly reduced energy content of baskets: Compared to control, repositioning both foods and restaurants purely based on energy content of options resulted in the greatest effect (-209kcal; 95%CIs: -248,-168), followed by repositioning restaurants (-161kcal; 95%CIs: -201,-121), repositioning restaurants and foods based on a kcal/price index (-117kcals; 95%CI: -158,-74) and repositioning foods based on energy content (-88kcals; 95%CI: -130,-45). All interventions reduced the basket price compared to the control, except for the intervention repositioning restaurants and foods based on a kcal/price index, which increased the basket price. CONCLUSIONS: This proof-of-concept study suggests repositioning lower-energy options more prominently may encourage lower energy food choices in online delivery platforms and can be implemented in a sustainable business model.