Calories and Cents

David Gertner, Alex K. Gertner, Denizar Vianna Araujo, Luciana Bahia, Isabel Bouzas
  • Social Marketing Quarterly, August 2016, SAGE Publishing
  • DOI: 10.1177/1524500416648915

Calories and Cents

What is it about?

In recent decades, obesity has become a critical global health issue. Experts and laypeople alike attribute high obesity rates to lifestyle choices involving diet and exercise. Following decades of increasing portion sizes and decreasing nutritional value, the food and beverage and fast-food industries have felt intense pressure to answer to new consumer priorities and what some see as their role in fueling the obesity epidemic. This article examines marketing and pricing practices implemented by some of the most popular food and beverage and fast-food industry players in the U.S. market that are involved in this response. Although marketers claim they are offering healthier choices and supporting the fight against obesity, our analysis reveals common industry strategies, including value pricing, psychological pricing, quantity discounts, and combo deals that undermine healthy food choices. We argue that in order to truly encourage healthy eating, these industries must revise not only their products but also their fundamental approach to creating customer value. It is also imperative that consumers, legislators, and the media be informed about deceitful strategies used pervasively by food and beverage manufacturers and fast-food restaurant chains that ultimately aggravate the obesity epidemic.

Why is it important?

The obesity epidemic is the most critical global public health challenge of the 21th century.

Perspectives

Dr. David Gertner (Author)
Pace University

This article examines marketing and pricing practices implemented by some of the most popular food and beverage and fast-food industry players in the U.S. market that are involved in this response. Although marketers claim they are offering healthier choices and supporting the fight against obesity, our analysis reveals common industry strategies, including value pricing, psychological pricing, quantity discounts, and combo deals that undermine healthy food choices. We argue that in order to truly encourage healthy eating, these industries must revise not only their products but also their fundamental approach to creating customer value.

The following have contributed to this page: Dr luciana r bahia, Dr. David Gertner, and Alex Gertner