Professur für Marketing

How to Combat the Unhealthy = Tasty Intuition: The Influencing Role of Health Consciousness.

The goal conflict between short-term indulgence and long-term health considerations is at the heart of unhealthy food choices and is thus a key contributor to increased adiposity prevalence. Policy makers often attempt to promote healthy eating behaviors by raising consumers’ health consciousness. Given that previous health campaigns have fallen short of expectations, this article examines the potential of health consciousness to resolve the so-called unhealthy = tasty intuition (UTI). Study 1 explores whether health consciousness attenuates belief in the UTI and its detrimental consequences for food choice and body mass. Study 2 applies the Implicit Association Test to disentangle the UTI’s implicit and explicit processes. Results show that health consciousness operates only through cognitively controlled processes. Using real food products, Study 3 analyzes how health consciousness colors the influence of composition and labeling on tastiness and healthiness perceptions. The studies jointly demonstrate that the UTI partly works implicitly and independently of health consciousness. Thus, the obesity epidemic should be addressed through concerted actions such as policy makers’ health communications and the food industry’s product development.

Combat the Unhealthy

Mai, R.; Hoffmann, S. (2015). How to Combat the Unhealthy = Tasty Intuition: The Influencing Role of Health Consciousness. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing. (forthcoming)