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Consumer Psychology. Professor Brian Wansink Cornell University Food & Brand Lab -- Director. What is Consumer Psychology?. Why do we buy what we buy? Why do we eat what we eat? The Goal . . . Solving Consumer Mysteries. Who? 6 Profs from 5 depts 7 graduate students

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professor brian wansink cornell university food brand lab director

Consumer Psychology

Professor Brian Wansink

Cornell University

Food & Brand Lab -- Director

what is consumer psychology
What is Consumer Psychology?
  • Why do we buy

what we buy?

  • Why do we eat

what we eat?

The Goal . . . Solving Consumer Mysteries

we examine the whys behind what consumers eat
Who?

6 Profs from 5 depts

7 graduate students

Hidden camera observation lab

2 restaurants; 1 snack room

A 3400 person national consumer mail panel

5 cooperating stores

How?

Lab experiments

Field studies

Consumer panels

Data-base mining

In-depth interviews

“Hidden” In-kitchen cameras

Since 1990 . . .

115 studies

43 referred journal articles

1 book (& 1 forthcoming)

We Examine the“Whys” Behind What Consumers Eat

Marketing

Nutrition

2004-Brian Wansink

U of Illinois Press

New

do we eat more from big containers

Consumer Psych

Mystery

Do We Eat More From Big Containers?
  • The Mission . . .
    • Mt. Prospect, IL --> “Payback”
    • Free popcorn (Large or X-Large)
    • After the movie, ask questions & weigh popcorn
  • What should happen?
    • People given big containers ate 45% more
    • This was true even with 10 day old popcorn!
four consumer psychology mysteries
Four Consumer Psychology Mysteries . . .

1. Why do we buy too much?

2. Why do we buy things we never use?

3. Can personalities predict food preferences?

4. Are bigger packages cheaper?

1 why do we buy too many

Consumer Psych

Mystery

1. Why Do We Buy Too Many?
  • Which Sign Sells More . . .
    • Limit 12/person vs. No Limit/person
    • 3 for $3.00 vs. 1 for $1.00
    • Buy 18 for the weekend vs. Buy some for the weekend
why do we buy too many
Why Do We Buy Too Many?
  • We focus on what to buy

. . . not how many

  • We are highly suggestible to numerical signs
    • We anchor on their numbers and adjust our purchase from there
    • Examples: 12 per person 3 for 99¢ Buy 6 for snacks
    • We say, “I usually buy 1 or 2, but . . .”
    • Numerical signs can end up doubling how much we buy
  • “Oh, but that never happens to me . . .”
2 why do we buy products we don t use

Consumer Psych

Mystery

2. Why Do We Buy Products We Don’t Use?
  • Allegation: “Evil Marketers Are to Blame!”
  • Think of a product you bought but haven’t used
      • Why did you buy it?
      • Why haven’t you used it?
why do we buy products we don t use
Why Do We Buy Products We Don’t Use?
  • Unused products often end up being those we buy for . . .
    • specific recipes we don’t end up making, or
    • specific occasions that don’t end up occuring
  • We end up being victims of our own optimism
  • We need to be realistic when buying products that have a specific use.
    • Buy general, flexible products (canned corn vs. canned okra)
    • Rotate products in your cupboard (back to front).
    • Use or give abandoned products away.
3 can personalities predict food preferences

Consumer Psych

Mystery

3. Can Personalities Predict Food Preferences?
  • For instance, if you know someone’s personality, could you predict their favorite soup?
  • 31 waitresses think they can. Let’s see if they are right . . .
    • Telephone survey of 1000+ consumers
    • Asked almost everything
the soup personality test extreme lovers of
Chicken Noodle

Tomato Soup

Vegetable/Minestrone

Chili

NE Clam Chowder

Family, TV & Leisure-oriented

Book & Pet loving, stay-at-homers

Church, food, & health lovers

“Funny,” tough, TV watchers

Realistic, sarcastic, worldly

The Soup Personality Test Extreme Lovers of . ..
the soup personality test
The Soup Personality Test . . .
  • Chicken Noodle SoupFamily & Leisure-oriented, TV watchers,
    • Tomato Soup
    • Readers, pet lovers, stay-at-home types
    • Vegetable/Minestrone
    • Outdoorsy, churchgoers, food/restaurant lovers
    • Chili
    • Funny, tough, sports/comedy watchers
    • New
4 are bigger packages cheaper

Consumer Psych

Mystery

4. Are Bigger Packages Cheaper?
  • Bigger is cheaper than smaller over 90% of the time
  • But Beware . . .
    • If the product is wasted (or spoils), big packages are not good deals
    • Package changes can hide price increases
      • Same price, but smaller package
slide15
Professor Brian Wansink

Food & Brand Lab

110 Warren Hall

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY 14853

foodandbrandlab@cornell.edu

foodpsychology.cornell.edu