Centre for Behaviour Change


Interview with: Helena Slapø

Helena Slapø is the general manager of GreeNudge, a research-based consultancy specialising in food, health, consumer behaviour and behavioral economics.

Helena Slapø

6 March 2020

Interviewed by Tali Arkushin

Tell us a little bit about GreenNudge. What is your mission? 
The company focuses on nudging consumers towards healthier and more sustainable behaviours, particularly food related behaviours. We work in three different areas. First, we work with consulting companies to evaluate the effectiveness of strategies they use to influence consumers. Secondly, we work on research projects with leading research institutions. Lastly, we work on awareness raising. We do so by giving talks and holding conferences about consumer behavior, nudging, food and sustainability. Together with the Morbid Obesity Center, Children and Adolescent Department in Norway at Vestfold Hospital Trust, we initiated a project called “Healthier Kids”, working directly with kindergartens and schools to help them provide better meals. 

Our core team specializes in areas such as medicine, nutrition, economics, environmental science and behavioral science. Samira Lekhal, the founder of GreenNudge is also a medical doctor and the head of the Morbid Obesity Center, Children and Adolescent Department. Through her work, Samira has learned that by working more closely with the industry it is possible to use preventative measures more effectively. Therefore, we conduct research in collaboration with companies and organizations in the industry.

We have published several reports on the subject, two of which are in English and can be found on our website.

Which of the projects you have worked on is your favorite?
Since 2016 we have been working with NorgesGruppen (which translates to ’The Norwegien Group’) – a company that owns about half the grocery stores and some convenience stores in Norway. The management understands that consumers want companies that make better options easier. For instance, one of the first things we looked into was increasing the sales of fruit and vegetables. NorgesGruppen redesigned its stores by moving the vegetable and fruit sections closer to the entrance, making them more salient. This had a particularly big impact in areas with lower education where awareness is lower.

Since it is such a large company, our research work has had a big impact and the team has seen the advantage of making research based decisions. We notice that the industry in general is starting to see the benefits of working in a more research based way.

What environmental issues have the greatest potential for behavioural science to have an impact on?
We work mainly with food, both from a health and environmental perspective. There is a great potential in apply these tools in other areas to drive behaviour towards the UN Sustainability Goals. Especially we see a great potential for using behavioural science to ensure responsible consumption and production. 

What would you advise a person who would like to start a GreenNudge unit in their city/ country? Who should they partner with?
I believe the value comes from collaborating with other institutions – we partnered up with established research institutions that have expertise. This is particularly valuable for a small company. 

We are also investing time and thought in making our work more visible. It is very easy for small companies to focus exclusively on day-to-day projects and neglect their visibility. I also think that getting funding from the Norwegian Research Council makes it easier for a small startup to grow because you have the basic founding. To summarize - partner up with a research institute and try to receive government funding.