Are You "Nudgeable"? Factors Affecting the Acceptance of Healthy Eating Nudges in a Cafeteria Setting

Christine Kawa*, Wim H Gijselaers, Jan F.H. Nijhuis, Patrizia M Ianiro-Dahm

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Research has identified nudging as a promising and effective tool to improve healthy eating behavior in a cafeteria setting. However, it remains unclear who is and who is not "nudgeable" (susceptible to nudges). An important influencing factor at the individual level is nudge acceptance. While some progress has been made in determining influences on the acceptance of healthy eating nudges, research on how personal characteristics (such as the perception of social norms) affect nudge acceptance remains scarce. We conducted a survey on 1032 university students to assess the acceptance of nine different types of healthy eating nudges in a cafeteria setting with four influential factors (social norms, health-promoting collaboration, responsibility to promote healthy eating, and procrastination). These factors are likely to play a role within a university and a cafeteria setting. The present study showed that key influential factors of nudge acceptance were the perceived responsibility to promote healthy eating and health-promoting collaboration. We also identified three different student clusters with respect to nudge acceptance, demonstrating that not all nudges were accepted equally. In particular, default, salience, and priming nudges were at least moderately accepted regardless of the degree of nudgeability. Our findings provide useful policy implications for nudge development by university, cafeteria, and public health officials. Recommendations are formulated for strengthening the theoretical background of nudge acceptance and the susceptibility to nudges.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4107
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 30 Mar 2022


  • Diet, Healthy
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Students
  • Universities
  • susceptibility
  • health intervention
  • healthy eating
  • cafeteria
  • nudgeability
  • acceptance
  • nudge


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