The Impact of Product Name on Dieters’ and Nondieters’ Food Evaluations and Consumption
This research explores the impact of merely altering the name of a food on dieters’ and nondieters’ evaluations of the food’s healthfulness and taste, as well as consumption. Four studies demonstrate that when a food is identified by a relatively unhealthy name (e.g., pasta), dieters perceive the item to be less healthful and less tasty than do nondieters. When the identical food is assigned a relatively healthy name (e.g., salad), however, dieting tendency has no effect on product evaluations. This effect, which results in differences in actual food consumption, is explained by nondieters’ insensitivity to food cues as well as dieters’ reliance on cues indicating a lack of healthfulness and tendency to employ heuristic information processing when evaluating foods. These findings contribute to the body of literature that explores both individual and contextual factors that influence food evaluation and consumption.
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