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Nudging to Health

By Hannah Jastram, Communications Associate

A team of Health and Nutrition educators at University of Minnesota are rolling out a new food shelf partner education workshop, called Nudging to Health: Promoting Healthy Choices at Your Food Shelf. This workshop is one of three available to help food shelf staff in Minnesota achieve better outcomes for their clients.

Many food shelves have a client-choice model, in which the facility is set up like a grocery store. Clients walk through the aisles with a grocery cart and select items they need and will use. This model allows clients greater freedom, which can leave less desirable but more nutritious items on the shelf.

This is where nudging comes in.

There are many low cost and no cost ways to "nudge" or encourage clients to take and try healthy food. "Nudging can be done by changing the layout and traffic pattern of the food shelf, creating creative signage and attractive displays, as well as giving verbal nudges that help to make the healthy choice the easy choice," said Kelly Kunkel, Extension educator and project lead.

This new workshop brings the number of 90-minute workshops available for food shelves to choose from to three:
  • Food Sampling and Food Demonstrations at the Food Shelf, designed for staff and volunteers at food shelves with commercial, licensed kitchens.
  • Healthy Nudges at Your Food Shelf, designed for food shelf directors and key volunteers at client-choice food shelves, specifically people who have an influence on the design and flow of their food shelves.
  • Nudging to Health: Promoting Healthy Choices at Your Food Shelf, designed for all volunteers working directly with clients at food shelves, client choice or not.

More resources to support food shelves are in the works, including:
  • Text messages to food shelf clients to encourage eating more fruits and vegetables.
  • A video to show food shelf clients how to use repurposed or “ugly” produce.
  • A website that houses workshop materials and other resources relevant to food shelf staff.

The nudging team includes the Family Development Communications Team and the following SNAP-Ed educators:
  • JoDee Christianson
  • Dianne Davis-Kenning
  • Andrew Doherty
  • Rachel Jones
  • Mary Krentz
  • Erin Ostrowski
  • Annette Shepherdson

For more information about this project, contact Project Lead Kelly Kunkel.

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