Marketing Nutrition in Fast Food Advertising and Priming Effects on Consumers

By: Jennifer Chung   Dietram Scheufele  

With growing concerns over the prevalence of obesity, there has been increasing regulation of food marketing and nutrition labeling. While many factors can be attributed to this epidemic, fast food consumption has been targeted as one of the key players. In the United States, the government has attempted to address this issue by requiring calorie displays at larger food retail establishments. The latest federal mandate requires chain restaurants and related establishments to post calorie information on all menus and menu boards by May 2018. To understand the potential impact of this change in a more realistic manner, we designed an experiment that considered the interplay between menus and advertising since many consumers are exposed to some level of marketing by the establishment prior to their purchase. Participants from a large Midwestern university (N=375, 94% retention rate) were asked to view a set of stimulus materials containing one advertisement, with or without nutrition information, and one menu, with calorie counts ranging from low, medium to high. Then, they were asked to complete a questionnaire, which we used to explore consumers’ attentiveness to nutrition, attitudes towards brands, and potential changes in consumption behaviors. Initial findings show that consumer attitudes are more positive toward the brand when exposed to advertisements with nutrition based claims and to menus with overall lower calorie foods. In addition, the average amount of calories consumed in one meal are primarily determined by the type of menu and the overall level of calories present.

"Labeling", " Nutrition", " Marketing"
Food, Nutrition, and Health
Paper Presentation in a Themed Session

Ms Jennifer Chung

-, -, University of Wisconsin-Madison, United States
Wisconsin, United States

Jennifer is a doctoral candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Dept. of Life Sciences Communication. Her research focuses on food and nutrition issues as they are portrayed in the media or in varying public spheres. Previous work includes the framing of controversial food technologies by the media as in the cases of irradiation and lean finely textured beef ("pink slime"). She also has done work in the area of global health communications regarding the Zika virus and discussions on social media.

Dr Dietram Scheufele

Default More