How food marketers can help consumers eat better while improving their bottom line

Food marketers are masters at getting people to crave and consume the foods that they promote. In this study authors Dr. Brian Wansink, co-director of the Cornell University Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition and Professor of Marketing and Dr. Pierre Chandon, professor of Marketing at the leading French graduate school of business, INSEAD challenge popular assumptions that link food marketing and obesity.

Their findings presented last weekend at the Association for Consumer Research Conference in Vancouver, Canada point to ways in which smart food marketers can use the techniques that peak consumer appetite for calorie-dense fast foods to help people eat better—and improve their bottom line as well.

"People generally want food that tastes good while being affordable, varied, convenient and healthy—roughly in that order. Our research suggests that consumption of healthy and unhealthy food respond to the same marketing tactics, particularly price reduction. In this study we present food marketers with a 'win-win' situation in which they can turn the tables, compel consumers to eat , and maintain profitability. For example, marketers can steer consumers away from high-calorie sugary drinks by offering meal discounts if a person buys a diet drink—or by offering a healthy habit loyalty card when consumers opt for milk, juice or water instead of . "When all sides win, no one resists," Wansink said.

More information: The study's findings are published in the October issue of the journal Nutrition Reviews under the title, "Does Food Marketing Need to Make Us Fat? A Review and Solutions." The study is also discussed in more detail at: foodpsychology.cornell.edu/outreach/fat.html

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Can branding improve school lunches?

Aug 28, 2012

A popular marketing ploy with junk foods and other indulgent table fare can be an equally effective tool for promoting healthier eating in school cafeterias.

'Healthy' restaurants help make us fat, says a newl study

Sep 24, 2007

If you're like most, you eat worst at healthy restaurants. The "health halos" of healthy restaurants often prompt consumers to treat themselves to higher-calorie side dishes, drinks or desserts than when they eat at fast-food ...

You're likely to order more calories at a 'healthy' restaurant

Aug 29, 2007

An important new study from the Journal of Consumer Research explains the “American obesity paradox”: the parallel rise in obesity rates and the popularity of healthier food. In a series of four studies, the researchers reveal ...

Popular characters can help kids eat healthy foods too

Aug 21, 2012

(HealthDay) -- Superheroes and other popular kids' characters have been used to sell junk food, candy and other sugary treats to children for decades, but new research shows they also can be used to promote ...

Do low-fat foods make us fat?

Dec 08, 2006

Recent Cornell studies in movie theatres, holiday receptions, and homes showed people eat an average of 28% more total calories when they eat low-fat snacks than regular ones. "Obese people can eat up to 45% more," reports ...

Recommended for you

Fun and games make for better learners

14 hours ago

Four minutes of physical activity can improve behaviour in the classroom for primary school students, according to new research by Brendon Gurd.

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.