Choice architecture as a means to change eating behaviour in self-service settings: a systematic review


  • This paper was granted by Aalborg University, Copenhagen, Denmark.

Address for correspondence: Mr LR Skov, Department of Development and Planning, Meal Science & Public Health Nutrition Research Group, Aalborg University, 2450 Copenhagen, Denmark.



The primary objective of this review was to investigate the current evidence base for the use of choice architecture as a means to change eating behaviour in self-service eating settings, hence potentially reduce calorie intake. Twelve databases were searched systematically for experimental studies with predefined choice architecture interventions in the period of June 2011–March 2012. The 12 included studies were grouped according to type of interventions and underwent a narrative synthesis. The evidence indicates that (i) health labelling at point of purchase is associated with healthier food choice, while (ii) manipulating the plate and cutlery size has an inconclusive effect on consumption volume. Finally, (iii) assortment manipulation and (iv) payment option manipulation was associated with healthier food choices. The majority of studies were of very weak quality and future research should emphasize a real-life setting and compare their results with the effect of other more well-established interventions on food behaviour in self-service eating settings.