Choosing More Food for Others

Gio, 16/06/2022 - 12:00 / 13:30

405, Viale Romania

Speaker: Ignazio Ziano , Grenoble Ecole de Management

Abstract

Consumers’ portion size choices are important, both because portion sizes are a major contributor to obesity and because such choices can contribute to food waste. Yet existing research has largely focused on consumers’ portion size choices for themselves—even though consumers often choose for others. Fifteen studies (with French, British, and U.S. American participants) examine portion size choices for others across multiple contexts, asking: Do consumers choose larger or smaller portion sizes for others, compared to various benchmarks—(1) how much they choose for themselves, (2) how much others want to receive, and (3) predictions about how much others actually want to eat? The authors find that consumers choose larger portion sizes of food for others in three main choosing-for-others contexts—everyday favors, gift-giving, and joint consumption. Consumers’ desire to be polite in the face of uncertainty about others’ consumption is one driver of this phenomenon. In the fourth main choosing-for-others context—the care-giving context (which is characterized by responsibility, rather than politeness, considerations), consumers only choose larger portions of healthy food, not unhealthy food, for others. This research thus offers both theoretical and practical contributions to understanding choices for others and portion size choices, identifying one potential cause of consumer over-eating, consumer food waste, or both.