Policy Evaluation: Online Takeaways

Making takeaway food choices more sustainable: The impact of behaviourally informed interventions on sustainable food choices

Photo by Robert Anasch on Unsplash

Delivery food apps, such as Deliveroo or UberEats, have become increasingly popular in recent years, with projections suggesting that up to 100 million people will be using them across Europe by 2024 (Statista 2022). These apps have made it easier than ever before to have meals delivered directly to our homes, providing a convenient and quick option for busy individuals. However, despite their rapidly growing importance, the impact that these apps have on our diets and the environment has received little attention. Encouraging more sustainable diets on online delivery platforms is important, as it can help to reduce the environmental footprint of our food choices, while also promoting healthier eating habits.

The goal of this study is to understand the potential of using behavior-based policies to promote environmentally-friendly food choices on food delivery apps. In order to achieve this, an interactive web-platform that mimics an online takeaway food setting will be used. The platform will include three treatment conditions: a meat tax, a carbon footprint label, and a choice architecture intervention, and a business-as-usual control condition. The meat tax treatment will apply a surcharge on meat dishes, while the carbon footprint label treatment will provide information on the carbon footprint of each dish. The choice architecture intervention will re-order the menu so that the lowest carbon-impact dishes are presented first. The study design will allow us to compare the effectiveness of a conventional monetary intervention, information provision and a behavioral intervention in the same experimental setting, and aim to generate new understanding of the potential impact on both personal welfare and distributional effects.

To explore these questions, we will conduct a large-scale incentive-compatible online Randomised Controlled Trial (RCT) with a sample representative of UK adult internet users. The project will be conducted in collaboration with the Behavioural Insights Team (BIT) and will be hosted on Predictiv, BIT’s policy testing lab. For this experiment, we will use a simulated online takeaway app (‘Take a BITe’), which mimics a real-world online food delivery setting. Data collection will take place in January 2022.

Paul Lohmann
Paul Lohmann
Research Associate

My research interests include behavioural environmental economics and field experiments.