Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Snacks In Small Packages May Lead To Overeating

Date:
August 24, 2008
Source:
University of Chicago Press Journals
Summary:
Tempting treats are being offered in small package sizes these days, presumably to help consumers reduce portion sizes. Yet new research found that people actually consume more high-calorie snacks when they are in small packages than large ones. And smaller packages make people more likely to give in to temptation in the first place.

Tempting treats are being offered in small package sizes these days, presumably to help consumers reduce portion sizes. Yet new research found that people actually consume more high-calorie snacks when they are in small packages than large ones. And smaller packages make people more likely to give in to temptation in the first place.

Authors Rita Coelho do Vale (Technical University of Lisbon), Rik Pieters, and Marcel Zeelenberg (both Tilburg University, the Netherlands) found that large packages triggered concern of overeating and conscious efforts to avoid doing so, while small packages were perceived as innocent pleasures, leaving the consumers unaware that they were overindulging.

"The increasing availability of single-serve and multi-packs may not serve consumers in the long-run, but—because they are considered to be innocent pleasures—may turn out to be sneaky small sins," write the authors.

One fascinating aspect of the research is the difference between belief and reality. In an initial study, researchers found that consumers believe that small packages help them regulate "hedonistic consumption," where self-restraint is at stake. When participants were asked to choose phone plans, those who thought the plan was for social rather than work purposes tended to choose smaller plans.

The researchers then moved on to food. Participants in one group had their "dietary concerns" activated by completing a "Body Satisfaction scale," a "Drive for Thinness scale," and a "Concern for Dieting scale." They were then weighed and measured, in front of a mirror, to fully activate their awareness. Then those participants (and a control group, which didn't have its "dietary concerns" activated) watched episodes of Friends interspersed with commercials. They believed they were there to evaluate the ads. But researchers were really monitoring their consumption of potato chips. Chips were available to participants in large packages or small ones. The study found that consumption was lowest when dieting concerns were activated and package size was large. People were less likely to open large packages, and participants deliberated longer before consuming from the larger packages.

"Maybe the answer lies in consumers taking responsibility for their consumption and monitoring internal cues of sufficiency, rather than letting package size take control," conclude the authors.


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. CoelhodoVale et al. Flying under the Radar: Perverse Package Size Effects on Consumption Self‐Regulation. Journal of Consumer Research, 2008; 0 (0): 080619111338432 DOI: 10.1086/589564

Cite This Page:

University of Chicago Press Journals. "Snacks In Small Packages May Lead To Overeating." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080822160351.htm>.
University of Chicago Press Journals. (2008, August 24). Snacks In Small Packages May Lead To Overeating. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080822160351.htm
University of Chicago Press Journals. "Snacks In Small Packages May Lead To Overeating." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080822160351.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Newsy (July 30, 2014) Researchers say women who diet at a young age are at greater risk of developing harmful health habits, including eating disorders and alcohol abuse. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. 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:
from the past week

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