Making Small Food Units Seem Regular: How Larger Table Size Reduces Calories to Be Consumed
Journal of the Association of Consumer Research, 1:1, 2016, Forthcoming
27 Pages Posted: 12 Nov 2015
Date Written: November 11, 2015
People compensate for small food unit sizes by eating more units compared to regular sized units, but the aggregate of calories people consume of smaller versus regular units is still less because each unit consumed increases perceptions of overindulgence and impulsivity. This suggests that if perceptions of a food unit’s smallness could be disrupted, people may not need to compensate, resulting in a further reduction in aggregate food chosen and consumed. In a lab and field experiment, people took the fewest calories when presented with smaller versus regular-sized pizza slices (i.e., from the same pizza pie diameter) placed on a larger table that distracted their attention away from the smallness of the pizza slices. We show that unit-size effects can be altered by food frame size mechanisms like table diameter.
Keywords: food unit size, frame size, food choice, field experiment, perceptual illusion
JEL Classification: Q18, L66, C93, C91
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation