BMI, Food Purchase, and Price Sensitivity

73 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2018 Last revised: 23 Jun 2020

See all articles by Ying Bao

Ying Bao

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Business Administration

Matthew Osborne

University of Toronto at Mississauga - Department of Management

Emily Yucai Wang

University of Massachusetts, Amherst

Edward C. Jaenicke

College of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology

Date Written: June 22, 2020

Abstract

In this paper, we examine the relationship between Body Mass Index (BMI) and food purchase behavior using a dataset that links individual-level food purchases, store-level price exposures, and individual-level obesity status. We document novel patterns that are informative for understanding how the relationship between diet and price varies with an individual's obesity status. Specifically, we find that BMI is positively correlated with higher purchase shares of vice goods such as ice cream or potato chips, and higher BMI individuals are more price sensitive in those product categories. In contrast, we do not find any statistically significant relationship between BMI and purchase likelihood or price sensitivity for comparable non-vice product categories. Interestingly, we do not find evidence that higher BMI individuals are more deal sensitive (when controlling for price) or stockpile more in response to deals. Our estimated relationship between BMI and price sensitivity is not moderated by individual habits, obesity related disease conditions, or factors related to an individual's concern about weight.

Keywords: obesity, self-control, scanner data, marketing and health

Suggested Citation

Bao, Ying and Osborne, Matthew and Wang, Emily Yucai and Jaenicke, Edward C., BMI, Food Purchase, and Price Sensitivity (June 22, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3260896 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3260896

Ying Bao

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign - Department of Business Administration ( email )

1206 South Sixth Street
Champaign, IL 61820
United States

Matthew Osborne (Contact Author)

University of Toronto at Mississauga - Department of Management ( email )


Canada

Emily Yucai Wang

University of Massachusetts, Amherst ( email )

80 Campus Center Way
University of Massachusetts, Amherst
Amherst, MA 01003
United States
4135455741 (Phone)

Edward C. Jaenicke

College of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology ( email )

University Park, PA 16802-3306
United States

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