Some Like it Unnatural: Lay Inferences about Additives in Food Products



There is growing consensus on the need to increase consumers’ awareness about the nutritive content of food products. However, not much is known about how consumers interpret the information that is disclosed to them. This research investigates the effects of directing attention to ingredient information on common packaged foods. Results from five experiments demonstrate that consumers differ systematically in their evaluations of “healthy” foods that contain edible additives. Ironically, chronically health-conscious consumers, or those in whom health is primed, infer increased healthfulness of foods containing such additives, and demonstrate greater preference and willingness to pay for such foods, than those who are not health-conscious. This effect occurs due to motivated inferences based on the disfluency experienced when unfamiliar additives are encountered on a nutrition label. Implications and future directions are discussed.
This research seminar is organised by the Erasmus Centre for Marketing of Innovation (ECMI).
Contact information:
Dr. G. Liberali