Embarrassed by Calories: Joint Effect of Calorie Posting and Social Context

Melis Ceylan*, Nilüfer Z. Aydinoğlu, Vicki G. Morwitz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Given growing health concerns about obesity, it is important to understand under what conditions calorie posting will lead to reduced caloric consumption. In one field experiment and three scenario-based studies, we show that disclosing dish-specific calorie information on a menu is more effective in lowering the total calorie of meal orders when food is ordered in the company of others. We further demonstrate that the joint effect of calorie posting and social context on food choice occurs due to anticipated embarrassment as ordering an indulgent, high-calorie meal interferes with impression management concerns in these dining contexts. Consumers order lower-calorie meals to circumvent social embarrassment. Recognizing the importance of impression management concerns during food choice, our research sheds light on previous mixed findings regarding the effectiveness of calorie posting on menus by demonstrating when and why consumers might use caloric information when making food choices.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)482-491
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the Association for Consumer Research
Issue number4
Early online date25 Aug 2022
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2022

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Applied Psychology
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


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