Natasha Auch: “Self-regulation in sustainable food purchases: the role of motivation, self-control and depletion”

In Former students by jvnf65


The research seeks to extend our present understanding of “if, why and how” consumers make healthy and environmentally-friendly food choices in a retail context. Drawing upon theories of self-attribution (Khan et al, 2004), self-control depletion (Baumeister et al., 2007) and goal pursuit (Fishbach and Dhar, 2005), this research examines consumer behaviour in the purchase of multiple food items, and the role of these concepts in the construction of a “healthy and sustainable” food basket. Food choices are responsible for substantial social costs linked to adverse health (Swinburn et al., 2011) and environmental degradation (Panzone et al., 2013). Therefore, encouraging consumers to make more sustainable food choices (both healthy and environmentally-friendly) is important to both public policies and commercial practices within the food industry. Although there is a substantial literature on psychological factors such as attitudes and motivations affecting food choices, these have been predominantly applied to static choice situations, typically involving a research focus on individual foods. While this vein of research has yielded important insights into consumers’ food choices, research expansion into the actual ‘process’ of purchasing multiple food items during discrete purchasing occasions is required (Russell and Petersen, 2000; Petersen et al., 1999). The research addresses this gap in the literature through exploratory and experimental research in food retail purchasing. Working collaboratively with Unilever, the research employs mixed qualitative and experimental methods to gather a deeper understanding of the role of (moral) self-regulation in making sustainable food choices in a retail context.