Snacks at work are often of poor dietary quality. The main objective of the current study is to examine the effect of making vegetable snacks available at workplace meetings on consumption.Design/methodology/approachIn three between-subjects field experiments conducted at a hospital and three ministries in the Netherlands, with meeting as the unit of condition assignment, attendees were exposed to an assortment of vegetables, varying in vegetable variety and presence of promotional leaflet in study 1 (N = 136 meetings), serving container in study 2 (N = 88 meetings) and additional presence of cookies in study 3 (N = 88 meetings). Consumption of vegetables and cookies was measured at meeting level to assess grams consumed per person.FindingsAcross the three studies, average consumption per meeting attendee was 74 g (SD = 43) for study 1; 78 g (SD = 43) for study 2 and 87 g (SD = 35) for study 3. In the first study, manipulation of perceived variety and information leaflets did not affect intake. In the second study, significantly more vegetables were eaten when they were offered in single sized portions (M = 97 g, SD = 45) versus in a shared multiple portions bowl (63 g, SD = 38) (p < 0.001). In the third study, no effect was found of the additional availability of cookies on vegetable consumption during the meeting.Practical implicationsThe present studies show how availability of vegetables at unconventional occasions makes meeting attendants consume considerable portions of vegetables on average. As such, offering healthy snacks at the workplace may be a valuable part of workplace health promotion programs and positively change the “office cake culture”.Originality/valueVegetable intake is less than recommended in many countries worldwide. Many snacking occasions are at work, which makes office meetings a potential consumption occasion to encourage vegetable intake. Hence, the aim of this study is to examine whether free availability of vegetable snacks during meetings contributes to their consumption among meeting attendees and under what conditions consumption is optimal.
International Journal of Workplace Health Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Jul 21, 2021
Keywords: Workplace intervention; Meeting; Vegetable intake; Availability; Nudge