Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Betcha won't eat just one: People consume more candies when they're individually wrapped, study shows

Date:
October 31, 2011
Source:
University of Alberta
Summary:
If you believe that good things always come in small packages, a new study may change your mind -- especially this close to Halloween.

If you believe that good things always come in small packages, University of Alberta researcher Jennifer Argo's new study may change your mind -- especially this close to Halloween.

In an article forthcoming in the Journal of Marketing, Argo explores how our consumption behaviours change when it comes to treats like chocolates and candies are placed in smaller packages. She says that people eat more of a product when it is placed in small packages rather that a regular-sized packages. However, she said, those with low-appearance self-esteem -- the term researchers use to describe people who are concerned about their body, weight or physical appearance -- tend to consume more than the average population, especially when certain conditions seemed favourable.

"The low-appearance self-esteem people ate the most when they were told that the caloric information was favourable (low in calories), when the caloric information was on the front of the package and when the product was visible (clear packaging)," said Argo. "People in the high-appearance self-esteem category -- those who did not indicate concerns about weight or physical appearance -- still ate more, but there was a big jump in the consumption quantity for [those with low self-esteem]."

Giving in to the dark chocolate side

Argo says that information contained on the packages in the study samples did have an effect on the low-appearance self-esteem participants. This group tended to eat less when the product wasn't visible, the caloric information was missing or they believed there were more calories in the small packages than what they expected.

She said elements such as a visible product and content labeling information served as cues to the group's susceptibility, which Argo noted gave this group a false sense of belief that the package would help them manage consumption and help them achieve potential weight-management goals.

While this might be true if only a single small package is present, Argo says that, in reality, small packaged goods are often sold in multiples and her study showed that these helpful, small packages are detrimental to consumers' waistlines.

"These consumers are basically saying, 'this package is going to protect me; it's going to help me achieve my goal,' and so they relinquish control to the package," she said. "They throw up their hands and say, 'I don't have to worry because the package is taking care of everything for me.' As soon as they've given up initial control, they have no control to deal with that next package that's presented to them."

Self-defense against small packages

Argo says that buying the regular-sized packages of these types of snacks and exercising portion control will not only reduce calories, but also save money as well, although she says that some people may still opt to buy the small packages out of convenience. For this group, she counsels that they retake control and limit the number of packages they take out at any one time. And especially with the seductive call of leftover Halloween candies around the corner, Argo says the old adage of "watch what you eat" may not be a bad idea.

"Relinquishing control to small packages is "a very cognitive process; people are purposefully doing this," she said. "(In the study) we found that if we interrupt the participants, if we distracted them with a task, they don't fall prey (to overeating).

"When it's a small package, distractions are actually beneficial in some respects."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Alberta. The original article was written by Jamie Hanlon. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jennifer J Argo, Katherine White. When Do Consumers Eat More? The Role of Appearance Self-Esteem and Food Packaging Cues. Journal of Marketing, 2011; DOI: 10.1509/jm.09.0512

Cite This Page:

University of Alberta. "Betcha won't eat just one: People consume more candies when they're individually wrapped, study shows." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 31 October 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111027132459.htm>.
University of Alberta. (2011, October 31). Betcha won't eat just one: People consume more candies when they're individually wrapped, study shows. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111027132459.htm
University of Alberta. "Betcha won't eat just one: People consume more candies when they're individually wrapped, study shows." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/10/111027132459.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Mind & Brain News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Your Birth Season Might Determine Your Temperament

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) A new study says the season you're born in can determine your temperament — and one season has a surprising outcome. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Court Ruling Means Kids' Online Activity Could Be On Parents

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) In a ruling attorneys for both sides agreed was a first of its kind, a Georgia appeals court said parents can be held liable for what kids put online. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

The Best Foods To Boost Your Mood

Buzz60 (Oct. 17, 2014) Feeling down? Reach for the refrigerator, not the medicine cabinet! TC Newman (@PurpleTCNewman) shares some of the best foods to boost your mood. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

You Can Get Addicted To Google Glass, Apparently

Newsy (Oct. 15, 2014) Researchers claim they’ve diagnosed the first example of the disorder in a 31-year-old U.S. Navy serviceman. 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