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There are Free Lunches: Behavioral Clues to Live Happy in the Economic World is a blog that intends to present updated and relevant information about the "hidden" and only recently uncovered dimensions of the economic science: the behavioral factors. With this blog we intend to promote in Europe and in the rest of the World, the top research articles and perspectives on behavioral economics, decision making, consumer behavior, and general behavioral science. We aim to be followed by journalists, academics, managers, civil servants, and everyone who wishes to improve their daily interaction with the economic world and consequently, their lives' happiness.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Do Small Packages Make Us Eat More? (via Psychology Today)

In 2004, Kraft introduced small package sizes for several of its snack food lines. Aside from there being times when a smaller package might be more convenient, many consumers welcomed packages that were trumpeted as being helpful in moderating their own intake. This now-popular trend of "reduced size" or "100 calorie" packs was of course wildly successful. Not only did consumers want smaller packages, they were willing to pay more (per unit) for a package that was shrunk down in size. This was a win-win situation for both consumers and firms. Many consumers recognize that if left with the large package of chocolate, they continued to eat and eat. The idea was that if the package was smaller and promised to help them regulate their own intake, this had value for them.

But do people actually eat less as a result? New research says its unlikely to be the case. Jennifer Argo and Kate White, two marketing professors, recently conducted a series of studies in which consumers were given the opportunity to eat various unhealthy snacks. Those eating from small packages (versus large packs or no packages) ate significantly more that the other groups. Further, those who were low in appearance self-esteem (individuals particularly concerned with their weight and body image), the effects were even larger. Ironically, those who are presumably most interested in small packages are those who are most likely to overeat from them.

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