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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Over-Eating To Increase Social Standing

You can be the upper crust and eat it, too.
Consumers who feel powerless will choose larger size food portions in an attempt to gain status, according to a new study in the Journal of Consumer Research. But there is hope for convincing them that a Big Gulp won't translate to higher ranking.

"An ongoing trend in food consumption is consumers' tendency to eat more and more," write authors David Dubois (HEC Paris), Derek D. Rucker, and Adam D. Galinsky (both Northwestern University). "Even more worrisome, the increase in food consumption is particularly prevalent among vulnerable populations such as lower socioeconomic status consumers."

Many cultural norms associate larger products with greater status - for instance, the size of a vehicle, house, or TV. The authors tested whether or not consumers used the size of food products to express their status. "Because vulnerable consumers are prone to express their status in order to compensate for their undesirable position and respond to daily threats, this research further proposes that the tendency to use the size of food options within an assortment will be particularly strong among those consumers who feel powerless," the authors write.
Clearly, they are not "powerless."

They compel us to pay for their diseases of choice.

Now that's power.

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