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Sugar in disguise or healthy indulgence: A cross-cultural comparision of the perceptions of dietary vice/virtue bundles


  • Jiraporn Napatsorn

    (State University of New York at Oswego, New York, United States)

  • Charinsarn Alisara Rungnontarat

    () (Thammasat University, Bangkok, Thailand)

  • Sheridan Michael

    (State University of New York at New Paltz, New York, United States)


Consumers often choose virtue food to attain health goals and vice food to achieve indulgence goals. However, food and beverage companies have begun to nullify the vice and virtue categories by bundling vice and virtue ingredients into a single item (e.g. Yogurt with Oreo topping). This research contrasts how consumers from Asian and Western cultures evaluate such vice/virtue food bundles. Building on the perceptual processes and regulatory focus literatures, two cross-cultural experiments using participants in Thailand and the U.S. shows that Westerners prefer virtue-heavy bundles to vice-heavy bundles while Asians show similar preference across both types of bundle. Process measures revealed that Asians perceive greater fit between vice and virtue components in the bundles than Westerners and this perceived fit mediates the effect of culture on their food choice. Study 2 reveals the boundary condition. Specifically, when regulatory focus was manipulated, the effect of culture is no longer significant. The findings provide managerial implications for food and beverage companies as well as contributions to consumer behavior literature.

Suggested Citation

  • Jiraporn Napatsorn & Charinsarn Alisara Rungnontarat & Sheridan Michael, 2016. "Sugar in disguise or healthy indulgence: A cross-cultural comparision of the perceptions of dietary vice/virtue bundles," Management & Marketing, Sciendo, vol. 11(2), pages 410-430, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:vrs:manmar:v:11:y:2016:i:2:p:410-430:n:1

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Klaus Wertenbroch, 1998. "Consumption Self-Control by Rationing Purchase Quantities of Virtue and Vice," Marketing Science, INFORMS, vol. 17(4), pages 317-337.
    2. Nicolae ISTUDOR & Corina PELÄ‚U, 2011. "Clusters of consumer behavior for food and near-food products in Romania," Management & Marketing, Economic Publishing House, vol. 6(4), Winter.
    3. Peggy J. Liu & Kelly L. Haws & Cait Lamberton & Troy H. Campbell & Gavan J. Fitzsimons, 2015. "Vice-Virtue Bundles," Management Science, INFORMS, vol. 61(1), pages 204-228, January.
    4. Pierre Chandon & Brian Wansink, 2007. "The Biasing Health Halos of Fast-Food Restaurant Health Claims: Lower Calorie Estimates and Higher Side-Dish Consumption Intentions," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(3), pages 301-314, June.
    5. Alokparna Basu Monga & Deborah Roedder John, 2007. "Cultural Differences in Brand Extension Evaluation: The Influence of Analytic versus Holistic Thinking," Journal of Consumer Research, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(4), pages 529-536, December.
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