This research evaluates how mental availability affects consumer choice of specific branded packaged snacks versus unbranded non-packaged snacks. Mental availability captures the probability of concepts coming to mind when making decisions. Concepts nested within a broad network of memory associations (e.g., those created by marketing for branded packaged goods) are more likely to come to mind and be chosen - potentially disadvantaging unbranded non-packaged foods. However, our research shows that some unbranded non-packaged snacks actually have greater mental availability and are more likely to be chosen, countering concerns over the detrimental effect of marketing food and inadvertently encouraging sub-optimal choices. The effect of mental availability holds when taking into account established drivers of snack food choice, such as hunger, self-control and past behavior.
- Branded packaged vs. unbranded non-packaged food
- Mental availability
- Snack food choices