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  

Brennan Davis

California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo - Orfalea College of Business

Collin R. Payne

New Mexico State University

My Bui

Loyola Marymount University

Date Written: November 11, 2015

Abstract

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

Davis, Brennan and Payne, Collin R. and Bui, My, Making Small Food Units Seem Regular: How Larger Table Size Reduces Calories to Be Consumed (November 11, 2015). Journal of the Association of Consumer Research, 1:1, 2016, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2689199

Brennan Davis (Contact Author)

California State Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo - Orfalea College of Business ( email )

San Luis Obispo, CA 93407
United States
8057561722 (Phone)

Collin R. Payne

New Mexico State University ( email )

College of Business
Las Cruces, NM 88003
United States

My Bui

Loyola Marymount University ( email )

7900 Loyola Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90045
United States

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