The “healthy=light” heuristic

Nico Heuvinck, Yi Li, Mario Pandelaere

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference abstract


A series of five lab and field studies provide evidence for a “healthy=light” heuristic. We show that people infer food Containing healthier ingredients to weigh less than food containing normal or unhealthy ingredients. In the meantime, people also use weight as a cue to signal products’ healthiness: products with less weight are perceived as more likely to contain healthier ingredients compared to products with heavy weight. We reveal that the calories estimate is the mechanism underlying this bidirectional relationship between weight and healthiness perception, while ruling out density as an alternative explanation. Furthermore, we demonstrate this heuristic has direct influences
on consumers’ product choices, purchase intentions and willingness to pay. Implications for theory and practice are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationANZMAC 2018 Conference Proceedings
Subtitle of host publicationConnect. Engage. Transform
EditorsJodie Conduit, Carolin Plewa, Dean Wilkie
Place of PublicationAdelaide
PublisherUniversity of Adelaide
Number of pages1
ISBN (Electronic)9781877040658
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • heuristic
  • healthiness
  • weight


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