Purpose: The wide literature about healthy behaviours posits that a high level of self-control is required in order to make healthy choices. This work intends to demonstrate that retailers, through the management of in-store marketing levers, can influence shopping behaviour, no matter which is the individual tendency to engage in cognitive behaviours. For this specific purpose, we have considered participants' “Need for Cognition” as a proxy of self-control. Design/methodology/approach: With reference to a specific category (cookies), we created a new display based on benefits (healthy eating) rather than products' attributes. A pre-test was conducted before the main experiment in order to assess the potential ability of the new nutritional display to help customers selecting healthier products, by testing participants' awareness and comprehension of the stimuli proposed. Then, an online between-subjects experiment was conducted by simulating the shoppers' expedition in the cookies' aisle inside a store with the aim to demonstrate that healthy choices can be also made on impulse. Findings: Our findings showed that when both communication and visual cues are provided, people low in need for cognition (NFC) are more willing to select healthy products from the shelf, compared with people high in NFC. Originality/value: While there is a wide literature explaining the mechanisms supporting healthy choices, fewer are the contributions about the role of retailers in promoting healthy eating through in-store marketing levers. More important, there is no contribution about how to promote health among people with low level of self-control.
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