Friday, March 4
2:00pm – 3:30pm EST
2:00pm – 3:30pm EST
Discussant: Kelly Haws (Vanderbilt University)
MC: Linda Hagen (University of Southern California)
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Student Coordinator: Deepak Sirwani (Cornell University) (email@example.com)
The Effect of Powerlessness on Preferences for Free-From-Products
Going gluten-free and dairy-free are popular nowadays. Six studies show that the feeling of low power increases preferences for Free-From-Products (FFP). This effect is driven by the powerless’ heightened sensitivity to threat. Consistent with this account, the powerless’ preference for FFP is attenuated when their sensitivity to threat is lessened: when the power structure is unstable or illegitimate. We also rule out status-signaling, health-seeking, and impression management accounts. Together, we contribute to both food consumption and power literature by demonstrating what drives the increasing demand for FFP and showing how the powerless respond to threats that go beyond social context.
Exposure to the Natural Environment Leads to Healthier Food Consumption
Exposure to nature has been found to lead to a host of health benefits, but does it also influence healthy food consumption? Four online experiments and a field study demonstrate that exposure to the natural environment, compared to an urban environment, leads people to select healthier, more natural foods. Specifically, our research reveals that a walk in a park (vs. on a city street) or exposure to a nature (vs. urban) scene does not influence how much people eat nor how foods are perceived, but does drive individuals to make food consumption decisions that are more aligned with health goals.
What’s the American Word for “Gourmet”? Epicurean Labeling Increases the Appeal of Moderate Food Portions in France but not the United States
Epicurean labeling is an intervention designed to promote portion control by emphasizing the aesthetic, multisensory properties of food on menus or packages. A field experiment at a French cafeteria showed that epicurean labeling reduced the amount of food ordered (and eaten) while increasing the perceived value of the meal. An online experiment replicated these effects among French, but not American respondents. Finally, the analysis of 9,154 food packages found that epicurean labeling was associated with smaller package sizes in France but not in the US. This research contributes to solving the “French paradox” of unhealthier food yet healthier people.
Less is More (Natural): The Impact of Number of Ingredients on Consumer Perceptions and Preferences
Across 8 pre-registered studies, we examine when and why consumers prefer products with fewer ingredients. First, in laboratory and field experiments, we show that consumers tend to prefer the same product if it is framed as having relatively few ingredients. In an additional consequential study, we find that this preference is strongest among consumers who have a strong concern for naturalness. In five follow-up studies, across a wide range of products, we demonstrate that consumers view products with fewer ingredients as more natural. This belief that a product with fewer (vs. more) ingredients is more natural persists even when all ingredients in both products are explicitly natural and also when the product with fewer ingredients contains “unnatural” ingredients. This research explores the psychology of how consumers infer naturalness based on the number of ingredients in a product and reveals the importance of naturalness perceptions on consumer decision-making.
The Differential Impact of Self- and Body-Referent Marketing on Consumers’ Health Perceptions
"The role of the corporeal body in consumer behavior has been largely unexplored, yet body-referent marketing practices are becoming more common in the marketplace. The current research investigates how body-referent and self-referent food branding differentially impact consumers’ health perceptions of food products. We find that consumers perceive products with body-referent food branding as being healthier than when the same product utilizes self-referent food branding.
I Want What You’re Having, But Don’t Look at Me: Direct Eye Contact Decreases Consumer’s Food Preferences
It's common to see human models in food images, however, little do we know about whether direct eye contacts between the human model and the audience could affect the audience's perceptions of the targeted food item. This study shows an interesting negative effect of direct eye contact, where consumers showed significantly lower food preferences, purchase intentions and willingness-to-pay towards food items that were presented with human models making direct eye contact with the camera (vs. looking away). We explored a perceived infringement account and highlighted the implicational and theoretical contributions of this work.
Consumers’ Inferences of Product Naturalness and Healthiness: The Role of Ingredient Quantity and Labeling
Consumers often desire to eat healthy foods. Yet a food’s healthiness is often an unobservable attribute, and consumers therefore frequently rely on extenal cues to draw their own conclusions. In this research, we find that the number of ingredients in a product branded as healthy can bias these conclusions. In contrast to the frequency heuristic, which has found that “more is better,” we find that consumers infer that foods containing more ingredients are less natural and thus less healthy. This is because consumers infer that products with more ingredients are more likely to originate from a more complex production process that requires more human intervention.
Voiceless Consonants in Brand Names Enhance the Expected Carbonation in Beverages
Brand names and carbonated drinks, both form an important part of the current consumer landscape. Yet the link between brand names and carbonation expectations remains unexplored. Prior literature suggests that linguistic features present in a brand name can influence expectations of food tastes and product attributes (e.g., voiceless consonants are expected to taste sour and be associated with spiky shapes). The current research demonstrates that fictitious brand names containing voiceless (vs. voiced) consonants are more associated with carbonated beverages and spikiness (vs. still water and roundedness). The current research adds evidence to the extant literature on brand naming, sound symbolism and crossmodal sensory associations.
The Sound of Consumption: ASMR in Food Marketing
Can using recognizable sounds resulting from product-related activities affect how people consume food? We examine the potential of ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response) as a new frontier marketing tool in connecting with audiences and affecting their food decisions. Through three studies, we find that eating sounds synchronized with the act of consumption do increase body sensation (e.g., tingling), but decrease food intake and make consumers feel more disgust. This research provides insight into the potential use and drawbacks of ASMR sounds in engaging with audiences.
How Life Unexpectancies Affect Preference for Novel Food
In the literature, how life unexpectancies such as unexpected stress could systematically affect individual’s attitude and choice toward novel food has remained being understudied. While prior research on novel food was highly related to the motivation of food tourism, in this research, we found that valence of the trip experience and life unexpectancies have a significant interaction effect on one’s novelty seeking in food. Risk aversion toward novel food was found to mediate this food preference.
Ordering More and Eating Less: Effects of Preservation Containers on Food Ordering and Consumption Decisions
Three studies show that alerting consumers that a container is available to wrap their leftover food leads them to order more food when this information is provided at the time of order, but reduces consumption when it is provided at the time of consumption. This is because preservation option lowers concerns about unfinished food while ordering, and increases mindful control on overeating during consumption. Our results suggest that providing preservation options at the appropriate dining stages can align health, environmental, and business goals by increasing sales while decreasing overeating and food waste.
Take a Bite! The Effect of Bitten Food in Pictures on Purchase Intentions
We investigate the effect of food pictured with (vs. without) a bite on purchase intentions. We test this for pictures shown without context and in advertisements. Two theories predict opposite effects: consumer contamination and mental simulation. We find that pictures of bitten food diminish purchase intentions, mediated by disgust (i.e., consumer contamination). Picture type does not affect mental simulation. There’s an interaction effect of picture type and context on purchase intentions: the effect of picture type on purchase intentions diminishes when pictures appear in advertisements (vs. shown without context). We find similar effects for product attitudes and willingness to pay.
A Healthy Cold-Colored Restaurant: The Impact of “Cold Ambient Color = Healthy” Intuition on Food Choice
This research investigates an unexplored lay belief named “cold ambient color = healthy” intuition and its impact on food choice. We demonstrate that consumers have built the “cold ambient color = healthy” intuition, such that they infer that restaurants with a cold-colored (vs. warm-colored) ambiance are more likely to sell healthy food. As a result of this deep-seated intuition, consumers are more likely to choose healthy food in a cold-colored (vs. warm-colored) ambiance. The research contributes to the literature on color psychology, sensory marketing, and food consumption. The managerial and public policy implications of this research are also discussed.
Unhealthy Food Makes Me Warm: The Impact of Ambient Temperature on Consumer Food Choice
While researchers have begun to investigate how ambient elements affect consumers’ choices between healthy and unhealthy food, the role of ambient temperature is relatively unknown. Through four experiments, including a field experiment, we find that ambient coldness increases consumers’ preference for unhealthy food. This effect is induced by the thermoregulation process automatically activated in a cold ambiance. Consequently, consumers are more inclined to choose calorie-rich unhealthy food. We conclude with a discussion of our theoretical contributions to the literature of temperature effects and food consumption. We also offer practical takeaways for restaurant managers.