Research IT

The Environmental Impact of your Shopping

Have you ever wondered if your shopping habits could be influenced? Do you buy the same groceries every week? Would extra information allow you to make informed choices when you do your online shop? Research IT helped a group of researchers who were trying to see if they could make consumers change their mind.

Research IT have recently completed work on an online grocery shopping site, Manchester-Newcastle Online Shopping Research Tool (MNOSRT). A collaboration between the University of Manchester, Newcastle University and Unilever; the tool aimed to discover the environmental impact of consumer shopping habits, and whether these could be influenced by interventions. The types of interventions included adding a carbon tax, or displaying environmentally friendly messages to over 800 participants as they undertook 3 weekly shops.

Technical support for the project was provided by Rob Dunne of Research IT. Rob was responsible for the delivery of a secure, public facing web application capable of supporting a secure log in and registration system to 800 users simultaneously. He also exported and manipulated the data ready for processing and analysis by the research group. This technical expertise was not available within the research group and therefore provided a valuable contribution to the team. Rob was supported by Bob Nutter from the IT Services Web Infrastructure team, who set up the web hosting and the initial version of the application when it arrived from Newcastle.

The collaboration was led by Prof. Alistair Ulph, Vice President and Research Professor at the Sustainable Consumption Institute (SCI) at the University of Manchester. Prof. Ulph said “We were very pleased with the work Rob has done for us. More generally we have been impressed by the way other IT staff have helped us too. It’s good for researchers to know we can count on this kind of support.”

If your research project could benefit from the expertise of Research IT then please contact us for an informal chat.