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Research article2020Peer reviewedOpen access

Observational learning in food choices: The effect of product familiarity and closeness of peers

Edenbrandt, Anna K.; Gamborg, Christian; Jellesmark Thorsen, Bo


The behavior among peers may be interpreted as useful information in individuals' decision processes, although such observational learning is typically not accommodated in consume choice models. This study incorporates information about other consumers' behavior in a choice experiment to evaluate if it affects choice probabilities. Market share is used as a proxy to signal that a product is chosen by many of the individual's peers. Although the effect is associated with diversity, there is a segment of individuals that perceive high market shares to carry relevant information for their food purchasing decision. Respondents who expect to hold similar or more positive preferences towards an unfamiliar food attribute relative to their peers are positively affected by a high market share. Taking information signals from peers' behavior into account may improve understanding of consumer behavior and improve our ability to predict the reception of new food aspects. [EconLit Citations: Q18; D12; D83].

Published in

2020, Volume: 36, number: 3, pages: 482-498
Publisher: WILEY

    Sustainable Development Goals

    End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Food Science

    Publication identifier


    Permanent link to this page (URI)