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Does a single consumption imagery event increase food desire?

Leveraging the negativity bias in anthropomorphism to reduce beef consumption

Evelynn Devos, Mario Pandelaere and Anneleen Van Kerckhove

Abstract

Food desire is an intense motivational state a consumer experiences toward food that accounts for much of consumption. While extant research has shown that experiencing desire elicits consumption imagery, it remains unclear whether consumption imagery alone instigates desire. Even though this directional relationship has been often speculated upon, little empirical study has considered it. This paper empirically identifies imagined consumption as an antecedent of food desire. Six studies show that consumption imagery increases food desire and suggest that this impact is due to induced feelings of deprivation. Our findings also show that increased desire explains previously researched outcomes of imagery, such as a higher willingness to pay for and consumption volumes of the imagined food.

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