Chair of Marketing

What are the implicit determinants of food choice?

Diet-related diseases, such as diabetes mellitus type 2 and obesity, negatively affect the quality of life, they cause numerous deaths each year, and they inflate the health care spending of health insurance companies and national governments. These negative implications could be avoided to a large extent by changes in consumers’ lifestyles and food decision making. Yet, efforts to change lifestyles have been markedly ineffective. From the perspective of consumer psychology this is largely due to the “unhealthy = tasty-intuition”, which often operates in an automatic and non-conscious manner of information processing. Consequently, prevention campaigns that try to raise health awareness often fail because normative and paternalistic measures do not effect the deeply-rooted and automatic processes that guide food choices. To contribute to the urgent change towards a more healthy nutrition in the industrialized societies, we explore new ways to overcome the dilemma between taste and health without pushing consumers into decision conflicts. A key to solve the dilemma is product development. In particular, different compensation tactics (sensoric, packaging etc.) are evaluated. Another promising way is to develop less intrusive prevention campaigns to nudge consumers towards healthy food choices by promoting health-unrelated motives that have health-supportive side effects.