Your decision is part of the problem! – Development of convincing advertising messages to increase consumers' preference for imperfect products

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Lehrstuhl für Marketing


Worldwide, 1.3 billion tons of food get wasted every year. While the reasons for this are manifold, a large proportion is due to picky consumer behavior with regard to the visual perfection of products, especially fruit and vegetables, whose quality, taste or safety is not impaired in most cases. However, trade standards have made consumers accustomed to visually perfect products, so they do not consider buying imperfect products. While previous research has shown that price discounts and consumer education can be successful tools to increase sales of imperfect products, research lacks insights about how to encourage consumers to buy without discounts or other compensation.
The thesis to be written deals with the question of the factual arguments to be used to incentivize consumers to buy imperfect produce. Possible starting points are the clarity of consequence information and the perceived psychological distance (see construal level theory). Within the framework of experimental studies (online or field/supermarket), various communication messages are to be developed and tested for their effectiveness. Interested students should be familiar with the basic methods for conducting and evaluating experiments (t-test, ANOVA, regression analysis, moderation/mediation) or be willing to acquire the knowledge independently. In the best case, the knowledge gained can help to reduce food waste resulting from choosy consumer behavior.

Keywords: food waste, construal level, consequence information