Five experiments show that less physical involvement in obtaining food leads to less healthy food choices. We find that when participants are given the choice of whether or not to consume snacks that they perceive as relatively unhealthy, they have a greater inclination to consume these snacks when less (versus more) physical involvement is required to help themselves to the food; this is not the case for snacks that they perceive as relatively healthy. Further, when participants are given the opportunity to choose their portion size, they select larger portions of unhealthy foods when less (versus more) physical involvement is required to help themselves to the food; again, this is not the case for healthy foods. We suggest that this behavior occurs because being less physically involved in serving one’s food allows participants to reject responsibility for unhealthy eating and thus to feel better about themselves following indulgent consumption. These findings add to the research on consumers’ self-serving attributions and to the growing literature on factors that nudge consumers towards healthier eating decisions.
Hagen, Linda, Aradhna Krishna, and Brent McFerran (2017). "Rejecting Responsibility: Low Physical Involvement in Obtaining Food Promotes Unhealthy Eating", Journal of Marketing Research, 54 (4, August), 589-604.
Journal of Marketing Research
Rejecting Responsibility: Low Physical Involvement in Obtaining Food Promotes Unhealthy Eating
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