The primacy of “what” over “how much”: How type and quantity shape healthiness perceptions of food portions

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Healthy eating goals influence many consumer choices, such that evaluating the healthiness of food portions is important. Given that both the type and quantity of food jointly contribute to weight and overall health, evaluations of a food portion's healthiness ought to consider both type and quantity. However, existing literature tends to examine food type and food quantity separately. Across seven studies, we show that consumers treat type as a primary dimension and quantity as a secondary dimension, such that a change in type (versus quantity) has a greater impact on perceived healthiness or health goal impact, even when holding objective impact constant in terms of calories. We also examine whether one reason this effect occurs is because most consumers consider type (a categorical attribute) before quantity (a continuous attribute). We conclude by discussing extensions of these ideas to other perceptual assessments involving both type and quantity (e.g., price perceptions).

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Liu, PJ; Haws, KL; Scherr, K; Redden, JP; Bettman, JR; Fitzsimons, GJ

Published Date

  • July 1, 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 65 / 7

Start / End Page

  • 3353 - 3381

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1526-5501

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0025-1909

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1287/mnsc.2018.3098

Citation Source

  • Scopus