Surprise labels increase indulgent food portion size choice

Anika Schumacher*, Caroline Goukens, Kelly Geyskens

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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    Food package labels can significantly influence food portion size choice. In this research we investigate whether package labels featuring the word 'surprise' influence food portion size choice of hedonic snacks. Surprise appeals are used frequently by the food industry to encourage product choice (e.g., surprise menus at restaurants), but their effect on portion size choice is not yet well understood. In four experimental studies, we investigate the effect of surprise labels-without changing the level of information about the product-on food portion size choice. We consistently find that surprise labels (e.g., surprise chocolates box)-compared to conventional labels (e.g., chocolates box)-increase food portion size choice. We furthermore show that this effect is driven by an increase in anticipated enjoyment associated with the surprise-labeled snack. Theoretically, our findings contribute to literature on the implications of the halo effect in food portion size choice by showing that a surprise label triggers a positive halo effect and thereby increases portion size choice.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number103919
    Number of pages6
    JournalFood Quality and Preference
    Publication statusPublished - Jul-2020


    • Surprise
    • Halo effect
    • Product labels
    • Portion size choice
    • LIKING
    • POINT

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