The aim of this field trial was to investigate whether these motivational techniques could have an impact on the user’s usage of the tool and perceived motivation in monitoring their food diet.
The study assessed two different elements of the PRECIOUS food intake tool (Food Diary and Fruit and Vegetable Challenge), with two groups of participants (control and experimental) per element. After confirming consent to participate and completing an online attitudinal questionnaire, all four groups downloaded and used either the Food Diary element or the Fruit and Vegetable Challenge element of the tool for 14 days. During the trial, usage data was captured and regularly monitored. Participants also provided self-reported data by completing an online survey assessing perceived experience/usage, attitudes and behaviours at the start (Day 0), throughout (Day 7) and at the end of the study (Day 14). At the end of Day 7, the motivational elements of the PRECIOUS food intake app were remotely switched on for the experimental groups. 49 participants completed the trial using the Food Diary and 46 participants completed the trial using the Fruit and Vegetable Challenge element of the app respectively (based on both usage and survey data). In all groups, participants’ feedback suggested that to some extent the app contributed to an increase in their awareness of what was consumed on a daily basis, but some improvements were required to the design of the app to increase appeal and user-friendliness. The outcomes from this study will help the PRECIOUS consortium assess whether the novel motivational aspects have the potential to positively affect usage and motivation of the users of the PRECIOUS food intake tool.