Supported Browser
  • About Us
  • Subscribe
  • Contact us

Food Marketers on a Diet

Pierre Chandon, L’Oréal Chaired Professor of Marketing, Innovation and Creativity at INSEAD, with Chris Howells, Acting Editor, INSEAD Knowledge |















The second study illustrated the same effects, but on adult students. Four portions of gummy candies were displayed. The participants were told the size of the first portion and were then asked to estimate the rest. But there were also two different conditions leading to starkly different findings by manipulating the perceptions of the desirability and healthiness of the candies. In an “unhealthy” condition, the candies were labeled as “gummy candies”, while in the healthy condition, they were labeled as “nutrition chews with Omega 3 and vitamins.” There was also a high and low desire manipulation where participants were either given a candy to taste before making the size estimates or not.

By simultaneously boosting the desire to eat the food by giving a sample and enhancing its unhealthiness perception using labeling, portion size estimates grew by 19 percent. 

The researchers then tested their theory on 116 adults at a sports centre, operating on a hypothesis that “restrained eaters” or those with strict diets would be especially conflicted towards food due to two different goals: enjoying tasty food and pursuing a healthy diet. Dieters should therefore be even better placed to estimate increased portion sizes of unhealthy foods. This proved to be the case, with size estimates 53 percent higher among those highly ambivalent, i.e. the dieters.

Steven Cramer,

Great article, I was really interested to read the influence on packaging in changing buyer behaviour with respect to the 4th "P", that being Product. Innovative thinking is the key!

Steven Cramer


As a personal trainer, I am 100% on board with the need for smaller portions... but there's a catch to downsizing - prices always tend to remain the same. If you offer someone a slightly smaller hamburger and it COSTS slightly less, they don't feel cheated at all. Offer it to them at the same price as the previous burger, and let the hate flow!

Add a comment Already a member?
We welcome your comments and encourage lively debate. However, to ensure the quality of discussion, our moderators reserve the right not to publish personal attacks, abusive comments or overly promotional content. You can view our Terms & Conditions

Your Privacy

INSEAD takes your privacy very seriously. For this reason, we inform you that the data collected via the form above is processed electronically for the purpose(s) specified in this form and will not be used outside this framework. In accordance with the Data Protection Act of 6 January 1978 amended by the GDPR, you are granted statutory rights of access, modification, update, deletion and limitation of treatment of your personal data. You may exercise these rights at any time by writing or sending an email to INSEAD at [email protected]. You have the right, on legitimate grounds, to object to the collection and processing of your personal information. For more information, please see our privacy policy.