Behavioral implications to how healthy indulgences are framed
Date: Tuesday April 2, 2013
Time: from 12:30 to 13:30
Organisation: Non-nativeness in communication and Persuasive Communication
Speaker: Nina Belei
In their daily struggle to live a healthy, well-balanced life, consumers increasingly seek indulgent foods with a healthy twist that takes away the guilt typically associated with such foods. Following consumer demand for guilt-free pleasures, the food industry has responded by marketing healthier alternatives to inherently unhealthy foods. Such “healthy indulgences” typically feature front-of package claims such as “extra antioxidants”, “with calcium”, “low-fat”, or “reduced sugar”, thereby making the foods appear less threatening to consumers’ health and diet-related goals. As the consumption of healthy indulgences is generally expected to be easier to justify, it is assumed that they all have the same consumption-stimulating effect that has already been demonstrated for claims emphasizing a reduced amount of fat (i.e., “low-fat”).
This research makes the case that there are profound behavioral implications to how healthy indulgences are framed. Specifically, the authors show that ostensibly similar health claims result in opposite consumption patterns depending on whether the nature of the attributes emphasized is functional or hedonic. Hedonic food attributes (e.g., “fat” or “sugar”) are naturally associated with the taste and pleasure-inducing properties of the food. Functional food attributes (e.g., “antioxidants”, “cholesterol”, vitamins”), on the other hand, are primarily associated with the utilitarian, health-related properties of the food. The authors provide converging evidence that health claims featuring functional food attributes may lead to consumers actually cutting back on consumption, whereas claims featuring hedonic food attributes may lead to increased consumption relative to a regular packaging featuring no claims.
Contact: Béryl Hilberink and Ulrike Nederstigt
Phone number: 024-3612875