Menu Customization and Calorie Estimation Biases in Consumer Choice

Alexander Chernev, Northwestern University, USA
Self-customization may involve either sequential or simultaneous evaluation of the offer’s individual components. This research explores the impact of the evaluation mode on consumers’ perceptions of the offer’s overall value in the context of food consumption, where value is reflected in perceived calorie content. Six studies suggest that when evaluating vice/virtue combinations simultaneously, consumers tend to underestimate overall calorie content such that the customized meal can be perceived as having fewer calories than the unhealthy item alone. When items are presented sequentially, however, calorie estimates depend on the particular sequence, such that a virtue followed by a vice leads to overestimation of overall calorie content.
[ to cite ]:
Alexander Chernev (2010) ,"Menu Customization and Calorie Estimation Biases in Consumer Choice", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 37, eds. Margaret C. Campbell, Jeff Inman, and Rik Pieters, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 69-72 .