A Multiple Goal Perspective on Eating Behavior
Although people frequently pursue multiple goals simultaneously, these goals often conflict with each other. For instance, consumers may have both a healthy eating goal and a goal to have an enjoyable eating experience. In this dissertation, I focus on two sources of enjoyment in eating experiences that may conflict with healthy eating: consuming tasty food (Essay 1) and affiliating with indulging dining companions (Essay 2). In both essays, I examine solutions and strategies that decrease the conflict between healthy eating and these aspects of enjoyment in the eating experience, thereby enabling consumers to resolve such goal conflicts.
Essay 1 focuses on the well-established conflict between having healthy food and having tasty food and introduces a novel product offering (“vice-virtue bundles”) that can help consumers simultaneously address both health and taste goals. Through several experiments, I demonstrate that consumers often choose vice-virtue bundles with small proportions (¼) of vice and that they view such bundles as healthier than but equally tasty as bundles with larger vice proportions, indicating that “healthier” does not always have to equal “less tasty.”
Essay 2 focuses on a conflict between healthy eating and affiliation with indulging dining companions. The first set of experiments provides evidence of this conflict and examine why it arises (Studies 1 to 3). Based on this conflict’s origins, the second set of experiments tests strategies that consumers can use to decrease the conflict between healthy eating and affiliation with an indulging dining companion (Studies 4 and 5), such that they can make healthy food choices while still being liked by an indulging dining companion. Thus, Essay 2 broadens the existing picture of goals that conflict with the healthy eating goal and, together with Essay 1, identifies solutions to such goal conflicts.
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