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Reducing consumption of confectionery foods: A post-hoc segmentation analysis using a social cognition approach
McCarthy, Sinéad N.
Considering confectionary consumption behaviour this cross-sectional study used social cognition variables to identify distinct segments in terms of their motivation and efforts to decrease their consumption of such foods with the aim of informing targeted social marketing campaigns. Using Latent Class analysis on a sample of 500 adults four segments were identified: unmotivated, triers, successful actors, and thrivers. The unmotivated and triers segments reported low levels of perceived need and perceived behavioural control (PBC) in addition to high levels of habit and hedonic hunger with regards their consumption of confectionery foods. Being a younger adult was associated with higher odds of being in the unmotivated and triers segments and being female was associated with higher odds of being in the triers and successful actors segments. The findings indicate that in the absence of strong commitment to eating low amounts of confectionery foods (i.e. perceived need) people will continue to overconsume free sugars regardless of motivation to change. It is therefore necessary to identify relevant messages or ‘triggers’ related to sugar consumption that resonate with young adults in particular. For those motivated to change, counteracting unhealthy eating habits and the effects of hedonic hunger may necessitate changes to food environments in order to make the healthy choice more appealing and accessible.
Healthy eating , Sugar , Social marketing , Social cognition models , Audience segmentation
Naughton, P., McCarthy, M. and McCarthy, S. (2017) 'Reducing consumption of confectionery foods: A post-hoc segmentation analysis using a social cognition approach', Appetite, 117, pp. 168-178. doi:10.1016/j.appet.2017.06.027