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EMAC 2023 Annual

Choosing More Food for Others

Published: May 24, 2023


Ignazio Ziano, University of Geneva; Peggy Liu, University of Pittsburgh


Fourteen studies test whether consumers choose smaller, similar, or larger portions for others, compared to various benchmarks-how much they choose for themselves, how much others want to receive, and predictions about how much others actually want to eat. We find that consumers choose larger portions for others across multiple contexts (everyday favors, gift-giving, joint consumption). Consumers’ goal to be considerate of others’ needs and desires given uncertainty about others’ consumption is one broad “baseline” driver of this multiply determined phenomenon. Consumers do not choose larger portions for others when they lack a considerateness goal, when choosing larger portions is inconsiderate, or when a responsibility goal instead dominates (as in the choosing-for-others context of caregiving). We discuss theoretical implications to understand choices for others and portion choices and practical implications through identifying a potential cause of overeating and food waste.