Use Tech to Order Food

Benefit: Healthier Choices

The Basics

WHAT: Latest science finding on how ordering food online leads to healthier choices.

SOURCE: The study conducted by researchers at the Tilburg University and Maastricht University in the Netherlands, and Stanford University in California.

GREAT FOR: Healthy Eating Practice, Health Tips, Wellness, Building Good Habits


Science now proves that people tend to pick food that’s higher in calories when speaking their order out loud, as opposed to when they choose by pushing a button or writing it down.

This may be because people activate different areas of their brain when they make decisions by speaking out loud, rather than by doing something manually. For example, speaking out loud may more strongly activate areas of the brain involved in emotion, as opposed to areas involved in critical thinking.

Let’s look into a lunchtime.

If you ordered your lunch online today, you might be eating something a little healthier than you’d get if you went to a restaurant a new study suggests.


In one experiment, which was conducted at a real restaurant, the researchers found that people were more likely to choose a high-calorie dessert (made primarily of chocolate) rather than a healthy dessert (fruit) if they ordered out loud, compared to if they ordered by pushing a button.

In another experiment, the researchers found that students chose higher-calorie foods from a vending machine if they ordered by speaking into a microphone, rather than by pushing a button.

In a third experiment, researchers asked students to choose between a Twix and a banana for a snack. When students made their choice out loud, 62 percent chose the Twix. In comparison, when the students chose by pushing a button, 35 percent chose the Twix, and when they wrote down their choice, 43 percent chose the Twix.

The findings could have implications for consumers and businesses as people shift from purchasing things in stores to purchasing them online, the researchers said. For example, a person who is booking a hotel might be more likely to pick a more practical and less expensive hotel if they book online than if they book in person or over the phone, the researchers said.

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