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Chamrong Cheam

Diplômé DBA - 2016

Titre de thèse

Towards Consumers' Better Acceptance of Healthful Hedonic Foods


Carolina Werle

Chamrong has an initial classic background of a French engineer through Mathematics Superior/Special and Institute of Technology (Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble). He has been working in industry (Roquette, a French multinational company, 3.5 billion euro TO) since 1998. The need to further his marketing skills led him to start the GEM DBA program in 2012. He defended his doctoral thesis in March 2016.

Although the healthful indulgences (e.g., no-sugars-added chocolate, rich in fibre ice-cream) embody “improved” versions of hedonic foods, they encounter little success in the marketplace inconsistently with prior literature related to the hedonic versus utilitarian paradigm. Previous research predicts a preference for virtuous healthful foods, notably when consumers search to maximize pleasure and follow decision patterns based on reflection and justification. In an attempt to explain consumers’ reluctance to purchase healthful indulgences, this research proposes a new goal conflict-induced decategorization-based mechanism leading to greater likelihood to choose the conventional hedonic item to the detriment of the more utilitarian healthful alternative. We propose and show that consumers eliminate the healthful hedonic item from their mental representation of possible choices when a hedonic consumption goal is salient. Furthermore, we assume that this happens because perceived similarity between the healthful indulgence and other traditional indulgences is reduced when pleasure goal is salient. Studies 1 and 2 support this mechanism and demonstrate that perceived similarity mediates the indirect effect of utilitarian (vs. hedonic) consumption context on the choice of healthful indulgence (vs. conventional version) in a binary choice decision-task. In addition, the direct effect within the theorized three-variable model indicates that when the perceived similarity is held constant, utilitarian (vs. hedonic) consumption context experimentally increases the likelihood to choose the healthful item (i.e., virtuous). This is consistent with the preference for virtuous choice predicated by prior research. Boundary conditions of the research model and managerial implications of the findings are explored respectively in Studies 3 and 4. Theoretical contributions, implications for the food industry and future research are subsequently discussed.