As obesity levels reach epidemic levels globally, an understanding of the multitude of factors that influence both eating behavior and food choice is necessary. This dissertation attempts to investigate the role of emerging food categories, namely organic foods, and the influence of environmental cues on eating behaviors and choices. This goal is accomplished through three essays. The first essay focuses on the organic food trend and consumer taste expectations. Specifically, this essay explores how the presence of an organic label influences taste expectations differently for minimally processed versus highly processed foods due to the level of consistency (congruency) between the food item and formed organic associations. Moving the focus on food consumption to environmental cues, the second essay of this dissertation investigates how the temperature dimension of ambient scent (i.e., cool or warm) influences food choice and the number of calories consumed. This essay, drawing on literature from physiology and the limited research on the temperature dimension of scent, shows that the temperature dimension of scent generates behaviors that mimic the body's physiological responses to ambient temperature. Lastly, the third essay explores the relationship between organic foods and the discrete emotion of nostalgia. This essay examines how proneness to nostalgia and nostalgia evoked by advertising results in a preference for organic food products. This essay proposes that nostalgia evokes a desire for simplicity that is represented through the traditional production methods used by organic products; this leads to a preference for organic products. In sum, these three essays advance the knowledge on factors that influence food consumption behavior and choice, adding to the theoretical understanding of emerging food trends, labeling, and environmental cues, while providing implications for marketing strategy and consumer well-being.
Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
College of Business Administration
Business Administration; Marketing
Length of Campus-only Access
Doctoral Dissertation (Campus-only Access)
Lefebvre, Sarah, "The Effect of Food Labeling and Environmental Cues on Food Consumption Judgments and Choices." (2017). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 5470.