What is it about?
Market practices targeting consumers' budget and health motivations for food purchase (e.g., discounts and 'low fat' labels, respectively) have been subject to criticism for encouraging unhealthy food consumption. We examined the influence of such practices in a 2 (price: recommended retail price, discount price) x 2 (product: regular potato chips, potato chips with ‘75% less saturated fat’) experiment using six Solomon four-group designs.
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Why is it important?
We show that discounts can nullify or override health motivations for healthier food purchase when regular and healthier options are simultaneously on discount. Health is a safety need, which hardly dominates human behavior unless metabolic needs, such as hunger, are satisfied. Our findings, therefore, imply that the consumption of unhealthy foods will continue, if not increase, given that healthier foods are priced higher. This can affect the health and socioeconomic well-being of individuals and nations as unhealthy diet, which is known to cause malnutrition and obesity, can become prevalent among the low-income group who spend more of their disposable income on food.
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This page is a summary of: Budget over health unless overweight: A Solomon four-group study, International Journal of Consumer Studies, December 2017, Wiley, DOI: 10.1111/ijcs.12411.
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