Project

Back to overview

Environmental cues and their effect on sustainable food intake

English title Environmental cues and their effect on sustainable food intake
Applicant Messner Claude
Number 145189
Funding scheme NRP 69 Healthy Nutrition and Sustainable Food Production
Research institution Abteilung Marketing Inst. für Marketing und Unternehmensführung Universität Bern
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Psychology
Start/End 01.01.2014 - 31.12.2016
Approved amount 256'000.00
Show all

All Disciplines (2)

Discipline
Psychology
Science of management

Keywords (5)

ecocentrism; environmental cues; advertisement; consumer behavior; anthropocentrism

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Das Wissen über gesunde Ernährung ist gross. So wissen die meisten, dass ein Müesli gesünder wäre als ein Gipfeli. Dennoch entscheiden sich viele für das Gipfeli. Das Wissen beeinflusst unser Verhalten fast gar nicht. Wenn wir uns gesund ernähren, dann nicht aufgrund des Wissens, sondern aufgrund des Motivs gesund zu sein. Es gibt jedoch weitere Motive, die unser Essverhalten beeinflussen. So sind wir gerne gesellig oder geniessen das Leben. Entscheidend ist, welches Motiv im Vordergrund steht.
Lay summary

Inhalt und Ziel des Forschungsprojektes

Manchmal reichen schon kleine Hinweisreize in der Umgebung, um ein Gesundheitsmotiv zu aktivieren. So beeinflusst die Menge an Essen, die das Gegenüber verzehrt, die eigene Essensmenge. Wenn aber im Raum eine Waage steht oder ein Bild von einer schlanken Giacomettiskulptur hängt, ist das Gesundheitsziel aktiviert und die Essensmenge unabhängig vom Gegenüber. Das Forschungsprojekt beschäftigt sich mit der Aktivierung von Gesundheitsmotiven durch Reize in der Umgebung. Ein Teil der Studien werden in Mensen oder Supermärkten durchgeführt; also dort, wo wir uns für Essen entscheiden.

 

Wissenschaftlicher und gesellschaftlicher Kontext des Forschungsprojekts

Die Vermittlung von Wissen über gesunde Ernährung verändert die Ernährung nicht. Gemäss dem aktuellen Schweizer Ernährungsbericht ist der Zusammenhang zwischen Wissen um gesunde Ernährung und Verhalten so klein, dass Wissen weniger als 2 Prozent des Essverhaltens erklärt. Stattdessen müssen Motive aktiviert werden. Das Forschungsprojekt bietet eine Grundlage für effektivere Massnahmen für gesunde Ernährung.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 19.08.2013

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Grâce à de bonnes connaissances sur l’alimentation et la santé la plupart des gens savent qu’un müesli est plus sain qu’un croissant. Malgré cela beaucoup choisissent le croissant. Le savoir influence peu notre comportement : qui se nourrit sainement ne le fait pas à cause de ce qu’il sait, mais à cause de sa motivation à être en bonne santé. D’autres motivations telles que l’aspect social ou le plaisir influencent aussi nos choix. La motivation se trouvant au premier plan joue un rôle décisif.
Lay summary

Teneur et objectif du projet de recherche

La présence dans l’environnement de stimuli, même discrets,  peut suffire à activer une motivation de santé. Ainsi, la quantité ingérée par une personne partageant notre table influence en général notre propre consommation de nourriture. Par contre, si un pèse-personne ou la représentation de l’une des sculptures élancées de Giacometti sont présents dans la pièce,  un objectif de santé est activé et nous déterminons alors la quantité consommée indépendamment des choix de la personne nous faisant face.

 

Contexte scientifique et social du projet de recherche.

La transmission de connaissances sur l’alimentation saine ne permet pas de modifier les comportements alimentaires. Selon l’actuel rapport sur la nutrition en Suisse, le lien entre les deux est si petit, que seuls moins de 2% du comportement alimentaire peuvent être expliqués par le niveau de connaissances en matière d’alimentation. L’information doit donc être remplacée par l’activation de motivations. Le présent projet de recherche offre une base pour le développement de mesures plus efficaces en faveur de l’alimentation saine.  

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 19.08.2013

Lay Summary (Italian)

Lead
La popolazione è ben informata in materia di sana alimentazione. Nonostante che si sappia che un muesli è più sano di un croissant, molti si decidono però per quest’ultimo. Tale indica pertanto che le decisioni non dipendono dalle conoscenze alimentari, ma dal motivo psicologico di alimentarsi in modo salutare, da motivi sociali oppure da motivi di piacere: ci piace stare in compagnia, viziarci e goderci la vita. Decisivo è di dunque il motivo eminente quando dobbiamo prendere una decisione.
Lay summary

Contenuti e obiettivi del progetto

A volte bastano anche dei piccoli stimoli nell’ambiente circostante per attivare i motivi di salute/ benessere. Pertanto, il consumo alimentare di un individuo è condizionato da quanto mangiano le persone che lo circondano. Quando però in quel nel luogo è presente una bilancia oppure l’immagine di una snella statua di Giacometti, l’obiettivo prefissato viene attivato e la quantità consumata non viene più influenzata dalle persone vicine. Nel presente studio viene affrontato il tema dell’attivazione di questi obiettivi attraverso la presenza di segnali/ stimoli nell’ambiente circostante. Una parte dello studio verrà effettuata nelle mense oppure in supermercati, esattamente laddove ci decidiamo per il mangiare.

 

Contesto scientifico e sociale del progetto di ricerca

La mediazione del sapere riguardo all’alimentazione sana ed equilibrata non fa cambiare le abitudini alimentari delle persone. Secondo l’attuale rapporto Svizzero sull'alimentazione la relazione tra il comportamento delle persone e la conoscenza di una dieta sana è così piccola che quest’ultima spiega meno del 2% delle abitudini alimentari. Devono pertanto essere attivati dei motivi di tipo psicologico. Il seguente progetto di ricerca offre una base per degli accorgimenti adeguati e delle misure più efficaci da adottare in campo nutrizionale.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 19.08.2013

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Most people know that muesli is healthier than a croissant. Nevertheless, many people decide in favor of the croissant. Our knowledge has hardly any influence on our behavior. If we eat healthy food, we do not do so because of our knowledge but because of our motive to be healthy. However, there are further motives which influence our eating behavior. On the one hand, we like to be sociable; on the other hand we enjoy life. The question is: What is the salient motive at the point of decision.
Lay summary

Content and goal of the research project

The main idea of this project is to activate consumer motives with external cues, which will lead to behaviour in line with health. One example is eating in groups. We adapt the amount we eat to the amount others eat. Here, social motives are more important than hunger or health related-motives. However, the presence of weight-related cues, such as a scale or an image of a thin figure by Giacometti, activates a motive to care about health. As a result, the amount you eat is now independent of others. The motive to care about health becomes operative and more important than social motives. In this example it is not knowledge that changes the behaviour, but external cues, which activate a motive, that change the behaviour.

Scientific and social context of the research project

The transfer of knowledge about nutrition does not change our diet. According to the latest Swiss Nutrition Report, the correlation between the knowledge about healthy food and our behavior is so little, that knowledge only explains 2 percentages of our eating behavior. Instead, motives have to be activated. This research project offers a basis for more effective interventions to encourage the consumer to make healthy choices.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 19.08.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
An (un)healthy poster: When environmental cues affect consumers' food choices at vending machines
Stoeckli S. Staempfli A. Messner C. & Brunner T. (2016), An (un)healthy poster: When environmental cues affect consumers' food choices at vending machines, in Appetite, 96, 368-374.
The art of dieting: Exposure to thin sculptures effortlessly reduces the intake of unhealthy food in motivated eaters
Staemplfli A. & Brunner T. (2016), The art of dieting: Exposure to thin sculptures effortlessly reduces the intake of unhealthy food in motivated eaters, in FOOD QUALITY AND PREFERENCE, 50, 88-93.
Completed Egoism and Intended Altruism Boost Healthy Food Choices
Weibel C. Messner C. & Brügger A. (2014), Completed Egoism and Intended Altruism Boost Healthy Food Choices, in Appetite, 77, 38-45.
A nudge in a healthier direction: How environmental cues help restrained eaters pursue their weight-control goal
Stämpfli Aline, Stöckli Sabrina, Brunner Thomas, A nudge in a healthier direction: How environmental cues help restrained eaters pursue their weight-control goal, in Appetite, 110, 94-102.

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
North American Conference of the Association for Consumer Research Poster How Hunger Facilitates Dieting: The Ironic Effect of Hunger when Primed with an Environmental Dieting Cue 14.10.2016 Berlin, Germany Stämpfli Aline; Brunner Thomas; Messner Claude;
A Conference about Healthy Food in Switzerland and Brazil Talk given at a conference E A T I N G H E A L T H I L Y: Can Swiss consumers afford it and how can they be nudged into it? 25.04.2016 St Gallen, Switzerland Brunner Thomas; Stämpfli Aline;
North American Conference of the Association for Consumer Research Poster Of Two Minds About Eating: How Thin Human-Like Sculptures Help to Resist Tempting Food 01.10.2015 New Orleans, United States of America Stämpfli Aline; Brunner Thomas; Messner Claude;
Tagung der Fachgruppe Sozialpsychologie Talk given at a conference Gesünder Essen durch Umgebungs-Cues 06.09.2015 Potsdam, Germany Stämpfli Aline; Brunner Thomas; Messner Claude;
11th Pangborn Sensory Science Symposium Talk given at a conference Unconsciously eating less: how an artwork reduces unhealthy food intake. 23.08.2015 Pangborn, Sweden Messner Claude; Brunner Thomas; Stämpfli Aline;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Establishing collaboration between Bern University of Applied Sciences, Switzerland and Chulalongkorn University, Thailand 02.03.2015 Bangkok, Thailand

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Context Effects on Consumer Judgments Workshop 05.06.2014 Lyon, France Brunner Thomas; Stämpfli Aline;


Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: radio, television Fox News Health. Diet Trends. Dieting? This art can help. fox news International 2017
Media relations: print media, online media Weight loss. The Weird Reason Looking at Art Makes You Eat Less. Alexandra Sifferlin, TIME Health; time International 2017
Media relations: print media, online media Bilder beeinflussen Wahl des Snacks 20min German-speaking Switzerland 2016
Media relations: radio, television Interview in news Radio Télévision Suisse (RTS) on the paper The art of dieting. http://www.rts.ch/info/sciences-tech/7733956-maigrir-sans-effort-en-contemplant-des-statues-de-giaco Western Switzerland 2016
Media relations: print media, online media L’effet Giacometti : et si l’art nous faisait maigrir? elle International 2016
Media relations: print media, online media Skinny Sculptures inspire sensible snacking Pacific Standard International 2016
Media relations: print media, online media Wie wir uns im Laden manipulieren lassen Der Bund German-speaking Switzerland 2016

Abstract

Healthy and sustainable food is often associated with self-control, willpower and effort. This research project takes another perspective by focusing on automatic behaviour and thereby bridging the gap between basic research on how environmental cues change food intake, and practical applications of that research. Consumers have different needs; some of those needs motivate them to buy sustainable and healthy food, but others do not. The crucial point is to activate those motivating needs at the point of sale, as well as at the point of consumption. The project’s main goal is to find ways that environmental cues decrease unhealthy and increase healthy and sustainable food intake. We focus on two kinds of environmental cues. The first part of the project focuses on cues in the environment that are not directly associated with food. For example: a scale, a picture of a thin Giacometti sculpture, or a face with freckles and red cheeks. We know that those environmental cues change food intake, but we know less about the boundary conditions. The goal of the first part of the project is to shed light on the processes that underlie these effects. The second part focuses on external cues that are associated with products, and the possibility of increasing sustainable food intake with advertisements. Consumers buy healthy and sustainable food due to either ecocentric or anthropocentric motives. In most cases ecocentric motives predict behaviour better than anthropocentric motives. However, this does not mean that activating ecocentric motives with an ad increases sales more than appealing to anthropocentric motives. Our first data show the opposite effect. The second part of this project looks at how best to advertise and to label sustainable or healthy food.
-