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More about behaviour 

  • Julie de Vaan

Stimulating sugar-free choices in the supermarket (Coca-Cola)

Updated: Aug 3

Since 2020, we have been supporting and advising Coca-Cola in encouraging more responsible choices. For example, we help them to encourage the choice for sugar-free options in the supermarket.

Insights & advice

In the supermarket we see that people often make choices on autopilot: without thinking too much about it, mostly based on routine, convenience, what they see and what they know or recognize. The surroundings are often leading people towards certain choices. To change behaviour, we have to make sure that sugar-free choices:

  • Are the easiest and most obvious

  • Are the most available and most visible

  • Look familiar and seem normal to people

We also see that most people are in favor of making responsible choices, but do not (want to) think about this in the soft drink sector. Here, choices are mainly made based on taste perception and functionality. Therefore, sugar-free soft drinks should be (or appear) the most attractive, suitable, convenient and/or functional.

Behaviour & Behavioural change - Health - Suger-free options in the supermarket
This Behavioural Map shows the way in which choices are made in the supermarket, and which buttons to push to change behaviour.

Practical application

Based on these insights, we optimize the shelf layout, we set guidelines for communication in brochures and other advertisements, and we give tips for the design of the online supermarket environment. Here, sugar-free options get the most space and visibility, are the easiest to grab or pick, and are the most attractive, convenient, and recognizable.

Behaviour & Behavioural change - Coca-Cola x Changing Ways - Stimulating sugar-free in supermarkets

Behaviour & Behavioural change - Coca-Cola x Changing Ways - Stimulating sugar-free in supermarkets

In addition, we set up guidelines and examples for communication in and around the supermarket and shelves. The focus is on taste and functionality, but consumers are subtly directed towards responsible choices. The communication is easy for people to process, so that it does not disrupt the autopilot on which people make their choices.

With this behavioural science-based new shelf layout, guidelines for communication and for the online supermarket environment, Coca-Cola can effectively stimulate the choice for sugar-free soft drinks in the supermarket.

Inspiring supermarkets

In order to inspire and motivate various supermarkets to get started with this effective and substantiated approach, we share these insights and advice with Albert Heijn, Jumbo, PLUS and Hoogvliet. We also advise and support them in the realization and application in practice.


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