Want to eat better? It could be as easy as not going to the grocery store, according to a new study. Ordering groceries online, like many of us have been doing over the last year, is the key and this research shows folks who do spend less on junk food than when they shop in person. But only by a little.
Researchers tracked the spending patterns of 137 shoppers over 44 weeks and found the online grocery shoppers spent an average of about $2.50 less on unhealthy foods, like candy and frozen desserts, than they did when shopping in person. The study also finds shoppers spent 44% more per transaction online versus in stores, with transaction fees adding to that total.
The study doesn’t get into the reasons behind this, but lead study author Laura Zatz, a senior advisor at The Behavioral Insights Team, suggests fewer opportunities for impulse buys could be why. When you’re ordering online, you’re not tempted by those towers of junk food at the end of the aisles, so those things don’t end up in your cart. Who we shop with may also influence what we buy, like when you’re at the store with your kids and they ask for unhealthy snacks and treats.