Financial Value Overrides Health in Supersized Food Buys

Health cues can help overcome the impact of perceived supersized pricing justification

FRIDAY, Jan. 24, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- "Supersized" pricing increases the quantity of food purchased and consumed because of focus on financial value, while diminishing the importance of health effects, according to a study published in the Journal of Marketing.

Kelly L. Haws, Ph.D., from Texas A&M University in College Station, and Karen Page Winterich, Ph.D., from Pennsylvania State University in University Park, examine the interplay between supersize pricing strategies and the effect on health by evaluating both marketing theories and public policy implications.

The researchers found that supersize pricing strategies not only lead to greater purchase and consumption, but that they do so by impacting important consumer goals in unrelated areas, including by decreasing the importance placed on health goals. While supersized pricing can have a powerful effect on purchase behavior through focus on unit pricing, the decreased focus on health can be prevented by providing health cues. Supersized pricing can also be utilized to increase size choice of healthy foods.

"In conclusion, we demonstrate that supersized pricing leads to an increase in the quantity of food purchased and consumed due to the decreased importance of health and enhanced focus on financial value," Haws and Winterich write.

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