Using Design to Contextualize Food Purchasing Data and Help Grocery Shoppers Transition to Healthier Food Purchasing Behaviors
Cardiovascular disease and diabetes are leading causes of death in the U.S. Both are nutrition-related diseases and can be mitigated by managing or decreasing the consumption of sugar, sodium, fat, and saturated fat. The purpose of this Master’s Thesis is to determine how design can help grocery shoppers gain more clarity about the sugar, sodium, fat, and saturated fat in their food purchases, encourage healthier food purchasing behaviors, and decrease the risk of disease. Design research methods were utilized to learn how consumers think about nutrition while making food purchases. Results revealed that research participants consider themselves to be health conscious, but that their actual food purchasing behaviors are not as healthy as they think they should be. The solution is to show consumers the average amounts of sugar, sodium, fat, and saturated fat in their purchases and compare those numbers to the amounts recommended by health professionals. This information helps consumers contextualize the nutrition in their purchases, identify specific problem areas, and modify their purchasing behaviors to become more healthy.