Date of Graduation

8-2017

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration (PhD)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Marketing

Advisor

Scot Burton

Committee Member

Elizabeth Howlett

Second Committee Member

Ronn Smith

Third Committee Member

Christopher Newman

Keywords

Attribution Theory, Calorie Labeling, Food Choice, Information Disclosures, Nutrition Labeling, Retail Patronage

Abstract

Federal legislation will begin requiring the provision of calorie information on the menus and menu boards of restaurants and other retail food establishments with 20 or more locations in May 2018. Food retailers not included in this mandate can choose to voluntarily provide calorie information to consumers. However, there are concerns that this major policy change will not have the desired widespread positive effects on consumer choice behavior. Further, although proponents of calorie labeling argue that consumers have the right to know the calorie content of their food orders, many food retailers have argued that calorie labeling is too expensive to implement and feared the loss of business from their calorie information becoming public knowledge. To address these important concerns, this dissertation offers a conceptualization to examine consumers’ divergent responses to the provision of calorie information on restaurant menus, while providing a more complete understanding of the consequences of calorie labeling on retailer-related responses.

Essay 1 offers a conceptualization regarding consumers’ food-value orientations and develops valid multi-item measures of these constructs. These measures are used to understand the drivers of consumers’ food consumption decisions and demonstrate how these new food-value orientations moderate responses to objective nutrition information provision. Eight studies, including two field studies, are conducted to establish the reliability and validity of the three orientation measures—health-value orientation, taste-value orientation, and quantity-value orientation—and examine the direct and moderating effects of these food-value orientations on meal choice. Findings from the three application experiments show that food-value orientations are associated with asymmetric responses to calorie labeling on restaurant menus and menu boards.

Essay 2 focuses on the retailing implications of this major policy change. Specifically, this research examines the effects of menu calorie labeling on consumers’ retailer-related responses. A conceptual framework is developed drawing from the attribution theory and consumer information processing literatures. Findings across five studies, including two restaurant field studies, show that menu calorie labeling has a positive impact on retailer-related outcomes. However, these effects are attenuated when the restaurant is perceived to be more (versus less) healthful and when menu calorie labeling is mandatory (versus voluntary).

Available for download on Saturday, May 18, 2019

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