Changing the influence of portion size on consumer behavior via imagined consumption
Petit O., Spence C., Velasco C., Woods AT., Cheok AD.
© 2016 Elsevier Inc.A portion of food is usually considered as the norm for consumption. Due to the portion size effect, people tend to eat more when they are served a larger, as opposed to a smaller, portion. Here, spontaneous simulations of the experience of eating a portion of food by consumers (i.e., simulated eating) helped to reduce this portion size effect. Those participants who reported more eating simulations selected a smaller percentage of food from the very large portion. However, the quantity of food selected from this very large portion was nevertheless still larger than from the medium portion. Thus, simulated eating reduced but did not eliminate entirely the portion size effect. However, when the participants were encouraged to deliberatively imagine the sensory experiences associated with eating a portion of food (imagined eating), initial portion size no longer influenced the amount of food selected. Potential implications of these results for the consumer, for the food industry, and for public health are discussed.