The Framing of Portion Sizes: It's Not the Size that Counts, But the Name

27 Pages Posted: 21 Jan 2016

See all articles by David Just

David Just

Cornell University - Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management

Brian Wansink

Retired

Date Written: May 20, 2010

Abstract

The food industry often uses normative labels such as “Large,” “Super-size,” or “Family-size” to describe their portion size offerings. Are these superficial labels evidence of firms using framing effects or loss aversion to impact choice behavior? A first field experiment shows consumer willingness-to-pay was inconsistent with loss aversion. Even though the food was clearly visible, individuals appeared to use the labels as objective information about their size. To further examine this, a second experiment measured plate waste, showing people leave more food uneaten when a constant-sized portion is labeled as being larger. If labels are used as objective size information, policies governing normative names could help reduce food consumption.

Keywords: labeling, portion size, loss aversion, framing effects, consumer behavior, obesity, food consumption

Suggested Citation

Just, David and Wansink, Brian, The Framing of Portion Sizes: It's Not the Size that Counts, But the Name (May 20, 2010). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2714034 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2714034

David Just

Cornell University - Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management ( email )

Ithaca, NY
United States
6072552086 (Phone)

Brian Wansink (Contact Author)

Retired ( email )

607-319-0123 (Phone)

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