Examining Eating: Bridging the Gap Between ‘Lab Eating’ and ‘Free-Living Eating’

Peer reviewed: 
Yes, item is peer reviewed.
Scholarly level: 
Faculty/Staff
Final version published as: 

Haws, K., Liu, P. J., McFerran, B., & Chandon, P. (2022). Examining Eating: Bridging the Gap Between “Lab Eating” and “Free-Living Eating.” Journal of the Association for Consumer Research. https://doi.org/10.1086/720448

Date created: 
2022-04-15
Identifier: 
DOI: 10.1086/720448
Keywords: 
Food
Research methods
Obesity
Eating patterns
External validity
Abstract: 

Food consumption and its physiological, psychological, and social antecedents and outcomes have received considerable attention in research across many disciplines, including consumer research. Although researchers use various methods to examine food decision-making, many insights generated stem from observing eating choices in tightly controlled lab settings. Although much insight can be gained through such studies (or “lab eating”), it is apparent that many factors differ between such settings and everyday consumption (or “free-living eating”). This article highlights key differences between “lab eating” and “free-living eating,” discusses ways in which such differences matter, and provides recommendations for researchers regarding how and when to narrow the gap between them, including by enriching lab studies in ways inspired by free-living eating. Besides suggesting how researchers can conduct studies offering a deeper understanding of eating patterns, we also highlight practical implications for improving food consumption for consumers, marketers, and policymakers.

Language: 
English
Document type: 
Article
Rights: 
Rights remain with the authors.
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