Thursday, March 27, 2014

Slim by Design: Redirecting the Accidental Drivers of Mindless Overeating

Read the working paper
INSEAD Working Paper 2014/26/MKT revised version of 2014/04/MKT

We first choose what to eat and then we choose how much to eat. Yet as consumer psychologists, we understand food choice much better than food consumption quantity. This review focuses on three powerful drivers of food consumption quantity: 1) Sensory cues (how your senses react), 2) emotional cues (how you feel), and 3) normative cues (how you believe you are supposed to eat). These drivers influence consumption quantities partly because they bias our consumption monitoring – how much attention we pay to how much we eat. To date, consumption quantity research has comfortably focused on the first two drivers and on using education to combat overeating. In contrast, new research on consumption norms can uncover small changes in the eating environment (such as package downsizing, smaller dinnerware, and reduced visibility and convenience) that can be easily implemented in kitchens, restaurants, schools, and public policies to improve our monitoring of how much we eat and to help solve mindless overeating. It is easier to change our food environment than to change our mind.