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Visible sugar: salient sugar information impacts health perception of fruit juices but only when motivated to be responsible and not when motivated to enjoy

Sah, A., Hillenbrand, C. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2929-5098 and Vogt, J. (2021) Visible sugar: salient sugar information impacts health perception of fruit juices but only when motivated to be responsible and not when motivated to enjoy. Appetite, 164. 105262. ISSN 0195-6663

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1016/j.appet.2021.105262

Abstract/Summary

The present study explores when consumers recognize the high sugar content of fruit juice and refrain from choosing it for themselves or their families. Fruit juice may be typically perceived as a healthy drink, despite its often high sugar content. We investigate the role of salience of sugar information and enjoyment and responsibility goals in perception and choice of fruit juices. We argue that sugar information needs to be salient to prevent this health halo effect, but that consumers also need to be in a motivational state that promotes processing of this information. In three experiments (N = 801), we manipulate the salience of the sugar content using a salient sugar label (or no explicit sugar label) as well as the activation of different goals (to enjoy versus to be responsible, in the context of choices for self versus significant others). Utilising a newly designed fictitious juice brand, salient sugar labels are effective in significantly raising awareness of sugar content in study 1. Consumers primed for responsibility consider fruit juice with salient sugar information unhealthier as compared to those primed for enjoyment in study 2. Further, in study 3, parents primed for responsibility perceive fruit juice with salient sugar information as unhealthier and less appealing in comparison to parents primed for enjoyment. The effects of responsibility and enjoyment primes on health perceptions are stronger when people think of responsibility or enjoyment of food in the context of their families rather than themselves. We discuss implications for theorizing, beverage marketing, and public policy.

Item Type:Article
Refereed:Yes
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Department of Psychology
Henley Business School > Marketing and Reputation
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Nutrition and Health
Life Sciences > School of Psychology and Clinical Language Sciences > Perception and Action
ID Code:97420
Publisher:Elsevier

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