Personalized Coupons, Recipes and Education Helped Shoppers Make Healthier Food Purchases

we are interested in scaling this work so it can reach more US adults and help them improve their diet quality and diet-related health.

Dr. Vadiveloo Interview with:
Maya Vadiveloo, PhD, RD
Assistant Professor
Nutrition and Food Sciences
University of Rhode Island

Dr.  Vadiveloo  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings?

Response: We conducted this study with the goal of helping people make healthier dietary choices while at the grocery store. We know that food companies use personalized messages and discounts that prompt people to buy unhealthy foods. We tested whether similar approaches could be used to encourage people to buy healthier foods by sending people 2 personalized, healthy food coupons each week to make these foods more affordable. We also wanted our recommendations to reflect people’s dietary preferences, so we only sent people coupons that aligned with preferences they told us at the beginning of the study .

The coupons were directly linked to people’s loyalty cards and they also received a brief nutrition message and recipe via email every week.

Overall, we found that people liked the personalized healthy food incentives, that it prompted them to purchase more healthy foods, and improved the overall diet quality of their grocery purchases. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Personalized dietary interventions that prompt people to make healthier food choices through a combination of incentives, education, and recipes may be a promising strategy for improving people’s diet quality and diet-related health. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Our ongoing research is focusing on ways to automate this kind of intervention using machine learning and learning more about what we can do to enhance the intervention to elicit even larger improvements in people’s diet quality.  Ultimately, we are interested in scaling this work so it can reach more US adults and help them improve their diet quality and diet-related health.

Any disclosures? The research was supported by a New Innovator Award from the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research.


Vadiveloo M, Guan X, Parker HW, et al. Effect of Personalized Incentives on Dietary Quality of Groceries Purchased: A Randomized Crossover Trial. JAMA Netw Open. 2021;4(2):e2030921. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2020.30921

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