Case Study 1: Opt-Out Organ Donation
Case Study 2: Save More Tomorrow
Case Study 3: Choice Architecture in the Cafeteria

Case Study 3: Choice Architecture in the Cafeteria

Choice architectures of their cafeterias have been altered to encourage people to make healthier choices. The accessibility – the ease in which a food item can be accessed – has a strong influence on food choice and intake. The less desirable alternatives are presented in a less accessible way, which makes them less likely to be chosen. By changing the environment in which people buy their food, people can be nudged to make healthier choices. Presenting healthy food options first creates a default option for people in the cafeteria, without depriving those who want the unhealthy food of the option to purchase them.  Think about this policy in terms of the FORGOOD framework.

The below interpretations of the seven considerations are suggestions and different people will think of these differently.

Does the behavioural policy have undesired redistributive effects?

No. The behavioural policy does not focus nor neglect one group in favour of another. It does not lead to a subset of the population behaving against their best interests nor to a re-allocation of resources.

Is the behavioural policy open or hidden and manipulative?

The policy is transparent as it involves a physical rearrangement of the cafeteria. The order in which food items appears does not coerce anyone to do anything. 

Does the policy respect people’s autonomy, dignity, freedom of choice and privacy?

Yes. People who want to consume the unhealthy snack still have the opportunity to do so. Their autonomy and freedom of choice remain intact. 

Does the behavioural policy serve good and legitimate goals? 

Yes. The cafeteria intervention is an effort to encourage people to make better eating choices for a healthier lifestyle. 

Do people accept the means and the ends of the behavioural policy? 

Yes. Most people agree that healthy eating is a worthwhile health behaviour, even if they fail to eat healthily themselves. People will not object if the fruit is put before the desserts in a cafeteria as they are still free to purchase whichever items they desire.

Do better policies exist and are they warranted? 

Other policy options available include hard interventions like bans and mandates, these would not be appropriate in encouraging people to eat healthy food.

Do the policy-makers have the right and the ability to nudge using the power delegated to them? 

The policy-makers is likely to be the director of the cafeteria. It is possible that conflicts of interests exist. The healthy food could be more expensive and thus, director may have an incentive to sell more of it.