Red Potato Chips: Segmentation Cues Can Substantially Decrease Food Intake

Geier Andrew, Brian Wansink, and Paul Rozin (2012), “Red Potato Chips: Segmentation Cues Can Substantially Decrease Food Intake,” Health Psychology, 31:3 (May), 398-401.

14 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2016 Last revised: 27 Apr 2017

See all articles by Andrew M. Geier

Andrew M. Geier

Schuyler, Roche & Zwirner

Brian Wansink

Retired

Paul Rozin

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Psychiatry

Date Written: May 2, 2011

Abstract

Objective: To discover a scalable method of food packaging presentation, that can help reduce per occasion food consumption by making portions sizes more salient and segmented.

Design: Two studies of American undergraduates who ate from tubes of potato chips while watching a movie. In each study, participants ate chips that were either identical (the control group) or which had colored chips inserted at regular intervals (the treatment groups). One treatment group had a distinctively different (reddish) chip present at every seventh (Study 1) or fifth (Study 2) chip, and the second treatment group had one present every fourteenth (Study 1) or tenth (Study 2) chip. Measures were the number of chips consumed and (in Study 1) the participants estimates of how many they believed they consumed.

Results: In both studies, chip consumption was reduced by more than 50% averaging across the two segmentation intervals, with no significant difference between the two intervals. Estimates of amount consumed were much more accurate when there was segmentation.

Conclusion: Segmenting a package effectively reduced consumption in the settings we have explored. Segmentation cues may operate by any or all of three mechanisms: 1) it calls attention to and encourages better monitoring of eating; 2) it suggests smaller consumption (portion size) norms, or 3) it breaks automated eating sequences by introducing a pause. There is some evidence from the first study that provides evidence for the first, monitoring account.

Keywords: obesity, food intake, environment, segmentation, food consumption

Suggested Citation

Geier, Andrew M. and Wansink, Brian and Rozin, Paul, Red Potato Chips: Segmentation Cues Can Substantially Decrease Food Intake (May 2, 2011). Geier Andrew, Brian Wansink, and Paul Rozin (2012), “Red Potato Chips: Segmentation Cues Can Substantially Decrease Food Intake,” Health Psychology, 31:3 (May), 398-401., Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2714975 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2714975

Andrew M. Geier (Contact Author)

Schuyler, Roche & Zwirner ( email )

One Prudential Plaza, Suite 3800
130 East Randolph Street
Chicago, IL 60601
United States

Brian Wansink

Retired ( email )

607-319-0123 (Phone)

Paul Rozin

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Psychiatry ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

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