Giving in to Unhealthy but Delicious Food Temptations

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Consumers are constantly confronted with temptations that may interfere with the pursuit of their motivations such as eating a healthy diet. Potential food temptations may activate consumers‘ hedonic thoughts and lead to associations of arousal or pleasure, which in turn may lead to unhealthy eating and obesity. Also, prior research suggests that different genders may encode information and develop preferences using different socially-constructed cognitive structures, which also may influence their food behavior. Yet, relatively little is known about how healthy eating preference and gender may influence responses to food temptations. An experimental study was conducted in which ‗scent‘ was used as a distracting but pleasant cue for the purpose of reinforcing respondents‘ emotional responses to an unhealthy food product (i.e., potato-chips). The results suggest that (a) the influence of pleasure-feeling on perceived dietary quality is positive when healthy eating preference is on a low level but non-significant when healthy eating preference is on a high level; (b) pleasure-feeling has a direct negative effect on eating intention; (c) the effect of pleasure-feeling on eating intention was moderated by gender such that the relationship was negative for females and non-significant for males; and (d) women show a positive relationship between arousal and eating intention, whereas this relationship is non-significant for men. This research offers new insights into the food temptations and obesity literature by describing a more fine-grained picture on how consumers‘ emotional responses may influence perceived dietary quality and eating intention. Also, our results provide guidance to those seeking to influence consumers‘ dietary behavior based on a more detailed picture on how we may respond to unhealthy but delicious food temptations. We conclude with suggestions for future research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication10th Annual International Conference on Business, Law & Economics, 1-4 May 2023, Athens, Greece : Abstract Book
EditorsDavid Frenkel, Olga Gkounta
Number of pages1
Place of PublicationAthens
PublisherThe Athens Institute for Education and Research
Publication date2023
ISBN (Electronic)9789605985417
Publication statusPublished - 2023
Event10th Annual International Conference on Business, Law & Economics - Athens, Greece
Duration: 1 May 20234 May 2023
Conference number: 10


Conference10th Annual International Conference on Business, Law & Economics
Internet address

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