Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

The Big Gulp: Consumers Avoid Extremes In Soda Sizes

Date:
August 25, 2008
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
As portion sizes have increased, Americans' waistlines have expanded. And as a new study demonstrates, consumers are tricked into drinking more soft drinks when retailers eliminate small drink sizes.

As portion sizes have increased, Americans' waistlines have expanded. And as a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research demonstrates, consumers are tricked into drinking more soft drinks when retailers eliminate small drink sizes.

Related Articles


No matter what the volume of the soft drink, customers tend to avoid the largest and smallest options, according to authors Kathryn M. Sharpe, Richard Staelin, and Joel Huber (all Duke University). "Our basic premise is that consumer purchases are altered by the portfolio of drink sizes made available," the authors explain.

Fast-food restaurants, in an attempt to boost profit margins, have eliminated smaller drink sizes and added even larger sizes. The authors believe these policies have led to a 15 percent increase in the consumption of these high-calorie drinks. "Consumers who purchased a 16-ounce drink when a 12-ounce drink was available later chose a 21-ounce drink when the 12-ounce drink option was removed, since now the 16-ounce soda is the smallest option," they write. "This effect also occurred at the large end of the spectrum; people who purchased a 21-ounce drink when the 32-ounce drink was the largest size available moved up to the 32-ounce drink when a 44-ounce drink was added to the range of drink sizes available."

By adding the 44-ounce option, the restaurant is able to shift the demand curve upward, even though the authors believe customers still want 12-ounce drinks.

The researchers go on to simulate policy directions for slimming America's waistlines. Their models show that for flat taxation of soft drinks to reduce consumption by 10 percent, it would need to be 28 cents per drink and would reduce corporate profits by at least 7 percent.

But by simply reversing the trend they started in the first place, retailers could do their part to improve public health. If they eliminated the largest drink size and brought back the smallest, retailers could help curb soft drink consumption with only a slight reduction in profit (less than 2 percent).


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Chicago Press Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Sharpe et al. Using Extremeness Aversion to Fight Obesity: Policy Implications of Context Dependent Demand. Journal of Consumer Research, 2008; 0 (0): 080416123650803 DOI: 10.1086/587631

Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "The Big Gulp: Consumers Avoid Extremes In Soda Sizes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080822160343.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2008, August 25). The Big Gulp: Consumers Avoid Extremes In Soda Sizes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080822160343.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "The Big Gulp: Consumers Avoid Extremes In Soda Sizes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080822160343.htm (accessed November 25, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins