The influence of companies' moral associations on the product consumption experience: The role of moral disgust

Aner Tal, Yaniv Gvili, Moty Amar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Can moral associations linked with food products harm hedonic consumption experience? Across four studies, we show that moral associations linked to food that clash with values (racism and animal welfare) held by today's ethical consumers can engender moral disgust, which in turn undermines both expected and actual taste experience. The studies contribute to the literature by showing that associations impact consumption experience even in the absence of concrete actions, and by revealing moral disgust as the mechanism underlying this phenomenon. Importantly, this effect was observed even when the moral associations involved racism or sustainability (e.g., animal welfare), which have no direct relationship to product quality. This reveals that mere moral associations, rather than quality associations, influence hedonic consumption experience, rather than quality associations. More broadly, the findings point to the ways in which extrinsic attributes affect product experience and evaluation, particularly in hedonic consumption. This may be particularly impactful for values clashing with those championed by ethical consumers. From a practical perspective, these studies provide a broader perspective on corporate social responsibility by showing that companies should exercise caution when exploiting the moral associations linked to their products.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1871-1887
Number of pages17
JournalPsychology and Marketing
Volume39
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Wiley Periodicals LLC.

Keywords

  • CSR
  • animal welfare
  • consumer values
  • corporate social responsibility
  • ethical consumer
  • food
  • hedonic consumption
  • ideology
  • moral disgust
  • product experience
  • racism
  • sustainability
  • sustainable marketing
  • taste

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