Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Nutrition and Food Systems (MSNFS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Dietetics and Human Nutrition

First Advisor

Dr. Alison Gustafson


Purpose: To examine if an online grocery shopping intervention improves meal planning and preparation and subsequent dietary intake. The primary hypothesis was that online shopping can improve meal planning and meal preparation habits while also improving dietary intake.

Method: Participants were randomized to either online only (O), online plus nutritional nudges (O+I), or standard brick and mortar (BM). Those in the O+I arm received behavioral nudges three (3) times per week and were part of a Facebook group assisting them with meal planning, nutrition education, and reminders to shop online. The O arm only received reminders to shop online, and the BM arm received no nudges. The intervention was conducted over 8-weeks across 4 rural counties and 3 urban counties in Kentucky, North Carolina, and Maryland.

Results: (n=129) predominately female (97%), white (75%), averaging 38-46 years, with (62-75%) county residents for more than 10 years. Education of some college ranging from (18-25%) or college graduated ranging (54-65%). There was a significant change in meal planning and meal preparation habits between the study arms and within the study arms over the 8-week intervention. Significance between groups at baseline and post intervention in terms of difference in fruit and vegetable intake. Meal planning was not found to be associated with improved dietary intake.

Outcomes: Future programs focused on improving healthier purchases may want to consider how to help consumers shop online in a healthy and affordable manner.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

This research was funded by Share Our Strength, Washington, DC 20005, USA (grant #3048115101)