Behavioral Economics Seminar: Better the devil you know? How product familiarity affects usage versatility of foods and beverages

The Behavioral Economics group at IFRO invite to open seminars with a range of subjects within Behavioral Economics.

This Thursday, Davide Giacalone, Associate Professor from University of Southern Denmark, will give the presentation based on the paper Better the devil you know? How product familiarity affects usage versatility of foods and beverages, David Giacalone and Sara R. Jaeger, Journal of Economic Psychology, 2016.


Appropriateness of use evaluations can be used to explore consumers’ associations between products and usage situations. The degree of familiarity consumers have with a certain product has recently been suggested as a mediator of these evaluations, influencing both the number and the type of associations consumers hold with food and beverages. In this work, we extend previous results across multiple product categories, hereby generalizing the findings. Four consumer studies were conducted using fruit names (N = 246), white wine images (N = 112), chocolate bar images (N = 192), and kiwifruit images (N = 302) as test stimuli. In each study, consumers rated their perceived familiarity with each stimulus and evaluated the appropriateness of use in a range of situations relevant to the product category. Familiarity was confirmed as a moderator of appropriateness of use evaluations, and was positively linked to product versatility. Since familiarity is related to an individual’s exposure to a product, this could indicate that consumers use past experience with a product as a heuristic for their appropriateness evaluations. The variance in appropriateness evaluations explained by familiarity alone was, however, limited, and product-context associations were also contingent upon specific product characteristics. Taken together, the four studies reported here confirm that product familiarity is related to usage versatility, and indicate that consumers may find it challenging to envisage how unfamiliar food products can be incorporated into their existing dietary practices.

The seminar is open to all.


For further information, contact:
Toke Reinholt Fosgaard:
Kennet Christian Uggeldahl: