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Effects of social sustainability signaling on neural valuation signals and taste-experience of food products.

Enax L, Krapp V, Piehl A, Weber B - Front Behav Neurosci (2015)

Bottom Line: We also found a significant taste-placebo effect, with higher experienced taste pleasantness and intensity for FT labeled chocolates.Our results reveal a possible neural mechanism underlying valuation processes of certified food products.The results are important in light of understanding current marketing trends as well as designing future interventions that aim at positively influencing food choice.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Epileptology, University Hospital Bonn Bonn, Germany ; Department of NeuroCognition/Imaging, Life and Brain Center Bonn, Germany ; Center for Economics and Neuroscience, University of Bonn Bonn, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Value-based decision making occurs when individuals choose between different alternatives and place a value on each alternative and its attributes. Marketing actions frequently manipulate product attributes, by adding, e.g., health claims on the packaging. A previous imaging study found that an emblem for organic products increased willingness to pay (WTP) and activity in the ventral striatum (VS). The current study investigated neural and behavioral processes underlying the influence of Fair Trade (FT) labeling on food valuation and choice. Sustainability is an important product attribute for many consumers, with FT signals being one way to highlight ethically sustainable production. Forty participants valuated products in combination with an FT emblem or no emblem and stated their WTP in a bidding task while in an MRI scanner. After that, participants tasted-objectively identical-chocolates, presented either as "FT" or as "conventionally produced". In the fMRI task, WTP was significantly higher for FT products. FT labeling increased activity in regions important for reward-processing and salience, that is, in the VS, anterior and posterior cingulate, as well as superior frontal gyrus. Subjective value, that is, WTP was correlated with activity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC). We find that the anterior cingulate, VS and superior frontal gyrus exhibit task-related increases in functional connectivity to the vmPFC when an FT product was evaluated. Effective connectivity analyses revealed a highly probable directed modulation of the vmPFC by those three regions, suggesting a network which alters valuation processes. We also found a significant taste-placebo effect, with higher experienced taste pleasantness and intensity for FT labeled chocolates. Our results reveal a possible neural mechanism underlying valuation processes of certified food products. The results are important in light of understanding current marketing trends as well as designing future interventions that aim at positively influencing food choice.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Valuation of products labeled with a Fair Trade emblem vs. no label. Willingness to pay increased significantly for products labeled with a Fair Trade emblem. Error bars indicate standard error of the mean. ***p < 0.001.
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Figure 2: Valuation of products labeled with a Fair Trade emblem vs. no label. Willingness to pay increased significantly for products labeled with a Fair Trade emblem. Error bars indicate standard error of the mean. ***p < 0.001.

Mentions: Overall, 97.54% of all bids were higher than zero. Product category significantly affected subjects' WTP [ = 193.06, p < 0.001]. FT labeling increased WTP by about 38.6 cents (± 2.7 standard errors), see Figure 2.


Effects of social sustainability signaling on neural valuation signals and taste-experience of food products.

Enax L, Krapp V, Piehl A, Weber B - Front Behav Neurosci (2015)

Valuation of products labeled with a Fair Trade emblem vs. no label. Willingness to pay increased significantly for products labeled with a Fair Trade emblem. Error bars indicate standard error of the mean. ***p < 0.001.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC4561672&req=5

Figure 2: Valuation of products labeled with a Fair Trade emblem vs. no label. Willingness to pay increased significantly for products labeled with a Fair Trade emblem. Error bars indicate standard error of the mean. ***p < 0.001.
Mentions: Overall, 97.54% of all bids were higher than zero. Product category significantly affected subjects' WTP [ = 193.06, p < 0.001]. FT labeling increased WTP by about 38.6 cents (± 2.7 standard errors), see Figure 2.

Bottom Line: We also found a significant taste-placebo effect, with higher experienced taste pleasantness and intensity for FT labeled chocolates.Our results reveal a possible neural mechanism underlying valuation processes of certified food products.The results are important in light of understanding current marketing trends as well as designing future interventions that aim at positively influencing food choice.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Epileptology, University Hospital Bonn Bonn, Germany ; Department of NeuroCognition/Imaging, Life and Brain Center Bonn, Germany ; Center for Economics and Neuroscience, University of Bonn Bonn, Germany.

ABSTRACT
Value-based decision making occurs when individuals choose between different alternatives and place a value on each alternative and its attributes. Marketing actions frequently manipulate product attributes, by adding, e.g., health claims on the packaging. A previous imaging study found that an emblem for organic products increased willingness to pay (WTP) and activity in the ventral striatum (VS). The current study investigated neural and behavioral processes underlying the influence of Fair Trade (FT) labeling on food valuation and choice. Sustainability is an important product attribute for many consumers, with FT signals being one way to highlight ethically sustainable production. Forty participants valuated products in combination with an FT emblem or no emblem and stated their WTP in a bidding task while in an MRI scanner. After that, participants tasted-objectively identical-chocolates, presented either as "FT" or as "conventionally produced". In the fMRI task, WTP was significantly higher for FT products. FT labeling increased activity in regions important for reward-processing and salience, that is, in the VS, anterior and posterior cingulate, as well as superior frontal gyrus. Subjective value, that is, WTP was correlated with activity in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC). We find that the anterior cingulate, VS and superior frontal gyrus exhibit task-related increases in functional connectivity to the vmPFC when an FT product was evaluated. Effective connectivity analyses revealed a highly probable directed modulation of the vmPFC by those three regions, suggesting a network which alters valuation processes. We also found a significant taste-placebo effect, with higher experienced taste pleasantness and intensity for FT labeled chocolates. Our results reveal a possible neural mechanism underlying valuation processes of certified food products. The results are important in light of understanding current marketing trends as well as designing future interventions that aim at positively influencing food choice.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus