How Association with Physical Waste Attenuates Consumer Preferences for Rescue-Based Food

Anna de Visser-Amundson, John Peloza, Mirella Kleijnen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


In an effort to combat food waste, many firms have introduced rescue-based foods (RBFs), which are made from ingredients that are safe to eat but would otherwise be wasted, often due to aesthetic issues or oversupply. Although the benefits of RBF are varied, some firms adopt strategies that highlight RBF’s waste-reduction benefits, such as reduced landfill use or lower environmental impact. This research posits that when firms adopt strategies that highlight associations between physical waste and RBF, those associations can generate negative mental imagery, which can trigger disgust and mitigate positive consumer attitudes toward RBF. When such associations are not present, demand is consistent with demand for conventional foods. The authors find support for the role of mental imagery in this demand mitigation process, with some promotional appeals stimulating thoughts of physical waste. Counterintuitively, this research reveals that when marketers adopt the common practice of using environmental benefit appeals that can trigger physical waste associations, such as the color green, consumer demand for RBF diminishes. Conversely, focusing on the societal benefits or limiting the number of cues available to create physical waste associations generates consumer demand for these foods on a level equivalent to that of conventional food.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)870-887
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Marketing Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© American Marketing Association 2021.


  • corporate social responsibility
  • food waste
  • mental imagery
  • rescue-based food
  • sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing


Dive into the research topics of 'How Association with Physical Waste Attenuates Consumer Preferences for Rescue-Based Food'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this