When dessert comes close : the effects of anticipating indulgent consumption and dietary restraint on healthy food preference at restaurants

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

When dining in restaurants, diners often anticipate indulgent consumption, such as enjoying a dessert. This study examined the effects of anticipating such indulgence on preferences for healthy food among restrained and unrestrained eaters. Two experiments revealed that anticipating indulgent consumption reduced restrained eaters’ preference for the immediate consumption of healthy food. Conversely, unrestrained eaters’ expectation of indulgent consumption increased or did not change their preference for a healthy option. The interactive effect of indulgence anticipation and dietary restraint on healthy food preference held regardless of availability of nutrition information. The findings suggest that, despite increasing concern for healthy eating, restrained consumers ironically show a preference for unhealthy food options when anticipating a dessert consumption opportunity. The present study provides theoretical implications for consumption anticipation, sequential consumption, and dietary restraint, and practical implications for restaurateurs as well as for consumers, health professionals, and policymakers regarding healthy eating.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102614
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Hospitality Management
Volume90
Early online date16 Jul 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

The work described in this paper was supported by the Institute of International Business and Governance, which had been established and supported by a grant from the Research Grants of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China (UGC/IDS/16/17).

Keywords

  • Consumption anticipation
  • Dietary restraint
  • Food choices
  • Healthy eating
  • Menu labeling
  • Sequential consumption

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