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Pop-up study into using technology for healthy dietary decisions on World Diabetes Day

Published: 15th November 2023 Last updated: 15th November 2023

Can technology help diabetes patients to make healthy dietary decisions when they shop for groceries? Nynke van der Laan and Rachelle de Vries put it to the test on World Diabetes Day at the ETZ Elisabeth Hospital with a dedicated supermarket app.

November 14, the birthday of the late Sir Fredrick Banting, is World Diabetes Day. In 1921, Banting succeeded in isolating insulin and thereby paved the way for treatments to be developed. The aim of World Diabetes Day is to draw attention to and increase understanding of diabetes.  

 Researchers Nynke van der Laan and Rachelle de Vries, together with MSc students Emma van Aken and Marloes Timmermans, set up their pop-up study "Bits & bytes: Tech for healthy groceries" in the central hall of the ETZ Elisabeth Hospital, where the hospital’s diabetes team was also organizing activities. This was a unique opportunity to recruit test subjects with type 2 diabetes. They could take part in the study on the spot by completing questionnaires and by shopping for groceries in a supermarket app. This app, developed in collaboration with company Nakko, uses nudging: encouraging a change in behavior by giving people a gentle nudge without taking away their freedom of choice. Finding out how nudging can help people with type 2 diabetes make healthy dietary decisions is relevant, because eating healthy food can prevent symptoms from getting worse and may even contribute to curing the condition. 

bits & bytes
bits & bytes

At the pop-up site, potential test subjects were canvassed for participation in the study by being shown a demo of the virtual reality app that had been developed in an earlier study funded by Diabetes Fonds. The participants received a number of the products they had selected in the app.

More information

The pop-up study "Bits & bytes: Tech for healthy groceries" is part of NudgeME, a research project co-funded by the Life Sciences & Health Top Sector of Health~Holland, and a PPS supplement to encourage public-private collaboration. 

Do you have questions about the study or do you have type 2 diabetes and would you like to take part in the study as a test subject? Please contact Nynke van der Laan ( or Rachelle de Vries (