To protect and support: Why would consumers find foods tastier if these foods help support a desired self-identity

Aner Tal, Yaniv Gvili, Moty Amar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Identity serves an important role in consumer decisions. Accordingly, understanding when and how products benefit from associations with different identities is crucial for marketers. The present research demonstrates that individuals aiming for a particular identity evaluate food products associated with that identity as tastier. We argue that food tastes better when it fulfills the psychological need of supporting and protecting identity. Across three studies we examined the connections between desire for an identity and consumption experience. In Study 1, participants rated products as tastier the more they desired the associated identities. Study 2 found that the effect of identity desirability on taste experience was moderated by currently held identity. We suggest this occurs because supporting an identity with appropriate consumption is only relevant for those possessing the identity. Finally, Study 3 manipulated the link between products and identity to show a boundary condition for the effect of identity desirability on taste experience. Here, dark chocolate tasted better the more participants wanted to feel sophisticated, but only when the link between dark chocolate and sophistication was made salient. Overall, consumers may find foods tastier if these foods help support a desired identity. More generally, fulfilling psychological needs can improve consumption experience.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)701-714
Number of pages14
JournalPsychology and Marketing
Volume39
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Wiley Periodicals LLC

Keywords

  • branding
  • consumer identity
  • consumption experience
  • food products
  • food taste
  • hedonics
  • psychological needs
  • self-identity
  • social group

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