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EMAC 2020 Annual Conference


Ethical, but pitiful: Exploring consumers’ socio-evolutionary responses to stereotyped foods and their favorers
(A2020-63650)

Published: May 27, 2020

AUTHORS

Harri Luomala, University of Vaasa, School of Marketing and Communication; Anne Matilainen, University of Helsinki, Ruralia Institute; Marjo Siltaoja, University of Jyväskylä; Lähdesmäki Merja, University of Helsinki, Ruralia Institute; Leena Viitaharju, University of Helsinki, Ruralia Institute; Sami Kurki, University of Helsinki, Ruralia Institute

KEYWORDS

food; stereotypical meanings; emotions

ABSTRACT

Ingredients such as insects can evoke negative stereotypical meanings in consumers’ minds, even though representing an alternative healthy and sustainable protein source. We offer a novel socio-evolutionary conceptualization that accounts for the drivers and outcomes of consumer responses to differently stereotyped foods and their users. Our S1 (N = 412) shows that roach (Cypriniformes fish species) foods are shrouded with negative stereotypical food meanings and that Self-enhancement values foster the most positive views. For S2, we collect more data (N = 400) to establish that consumers, observing users of various stereotyped foods, differentially exhibit emotions of admiration, pity, contempt and envy as well as the action tendencies of imitation, rejection and rivalry. The contribution of our research is to theoretically formalize and empirically demonstrate how evolutionary needs and socio-cultural factors work together to shape the meanings food products convey to consumers.

REFERENCES

This work was supported by the Academy of Finland [grant number 296726]