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The best of both worlds? Effects of attribute-induced goal conflict on consumption of healthy indulgences

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Abstract

Marketers commonly assume that health claims attached to otherwise unhealthful food stimulate consumption because such claims offer justification for indulgence and reduce guilt. This article proposes a generalized theory of healthful indulgences, identifying when and why people overconsume versus regulate food intake in response to health claims. Four studies demonstrate that not all health claims are created equal. The authors suggest that the nature of the food attributes the claims emphasize namely, functional versus hedonic determines the extent of consumption of the indulgence. Health claims featuring functional attributes (e.g., "extra antioxidants") trigger high levels of health-goal accessibility, which, together with simultaneously accessible indulgence goals attached to the indulgence, results in goal conflict. This conflict leads to reduced consumption of the food. In contrast, health claims featuring hedonic attributes (e.g., "low fat") render health goals less accessible while accentuating the pleasure dimension of the food, resulting in lower goal conflict and increased consumption of the food. Implications for the food industry and public policy makers are discussed.

    Research areas

  • health claims, goal conflict, self-control, consumption, CONSUMER CHOICE, FOOD, OBESITY, FULFILLMENT, ACTIVATION, TEMPTATION, JUDGMENTS, EMOTIONS, VIRTUES, CLAIMS
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Details

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)900-909
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Marketing Research
Volume49
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012