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Article
Publication date: 24 November 2023

Toritseju Begho and Shuainan Liu

People often look to the opinions and actions of others to guide their food choices, especially when they are uncertain or unfamiliar with a particular food. This influence can be…

Abstract

Purpose

People often look to the opinions and actions of others to guide their food choices, especially when they are uncertain or unfamiliar with a particular food. This influence can be positive or negative depending on the context and can have an impact on food consumption and health outcomes.

Design/methodology/approach

The paper analysed data from 500 young adult consumers in China and employed a multi-study design to examine various aspects of social proof and herd behaviour in food choices. Experiment 1 examined the influence of testimonials from an influential person on buying decisions and eating behaviour. Experiment 2 explored whether herd behaviour drives food options. Experiment 3 assessed the influence of social proof on food choices. Chi-square tests of independence were conducted to examine the relationship between social proof and food choice, as well as herd behaviour and food decision-making. Several logit regression analyses were performed to identify the factors that drive consumers' susceptibility to social proof and herding.

Findings

The results indicated that the source of feedback, whether from an influential person or a family member, did not have a statistically significant effect on the likelihood of following the food guide recommendations. The preference for a healthier food option was stronger than following the herd. In contrast, social proof in the form of reviews and ratings influenced participants' choices. The paper highlights the usefulness for stakeholders and policymakers seeking to promote healthier eating habits.

Originality/value

The originality lies in its comprehensive approach, combining multiple experiments and analytical methods.

Details

British Food Journal, vol. 126 no. 3
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0007-070X

Keywords

Article
Publication date: 26 June 2024

Toritseju Begho and Shuainan Liu

Promoting healthy dietary habits is a concern for public health due to the association between unhealthy diets and nutrient-related diseases. This paper aims to examine the…

Abstract

Purpose

Promoting healthy dietary habits is a concern for public health due to the association between unhealthy diets and nutrient-related diseases. This paper aims to examine the relationship between individuals’ temporal dietary behaviour and perceptions of the effect of dietary habits on physical health and how these perceptions influence two important aspects of eating behaviour, i.e. daily consumption of healthy food and self-reported extra payment for healthy food options.

Design/methodology/approach

Cross-sectional data on 457 young Chinese adults within the age category of 18–30 years were collected through a survey. Two subscales (immediate and future) were obtained from the consideration-of-future-consequences (CFC)-12 scale through a factor analysis. A seemingly unrelated regression was estimated to determine whether CFC impacts behaviour through an awareness of the consequences of one’s dietary habits.

Findings

Individuals who are more focused on immediate gratification were more likely to perceive their current dietary habit have a negative effect on their physical health (p < 0.001). In contrast, those who prioritise the future benefits were less likely to perceive negative health effects from their dietary habits (p < 0.001). However, the perception of negative consequences of dietary habit on physical health did not motivate healthier eating daily (p < 0.001) nor allocating more money towards eating healthy (p < 0.001).

Practical implications

Understanding the relationship between time perspective and dietary habits could help identify potential risk factors for poor dietary choices and promote healthier eating habits.

Originality/value

The paper uses insights from behavioural economics to identify the behavioural triggers that lead to a healthier dietary habit.

Details

Nutrition & Food Science , vol. ahead-of-print no. ahead-of-print
Type: Research Article
ISSN: 0034-6659

Keywords

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