Nudging Healthy Choices in Food Search Through Visual Attractiveness

Alain D. Starke, Martijn C. Willemsen, Christoph Trattner (Corresponding author)

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30 Citations (Scopus)
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Recipe websites are becoming increasingly popular to support people in their home cooking. However, most of these websites prioritize popular recipes, which tend to be unhealthy. Drawing upon research on visual biases and nudges, this paper investigates whether healthy food choices can be supported in food search by depicting attractive images alongside recipes, as well as by re-ranking search results on health. After modelling the visual attractiveness of recipe images, we asked 239 users to search for specific online recipes and to select those they liked the most. Our analyses revealed that users tended to choose a healthier recipe if a visually attractive image was depicted alongside it, as well as if it was listed at the top of a list of search results. Even though less popular recipes were promoted this way, it did not come at the cost of a user’s level of satisfaction.

Original languageEnglish
Article number621743
Number of pages18
JournalFrontiers in Artificial Intelligence
Publication statusPublished - 22 Apr 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© Copyright © 2021 Starke, Willemsen and Trattner.


  • food health
  • food search
  • information retrieval
  • nudging
  • recipes


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