Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date


Publication Title

British Food Journal


Management, Marketing and Business Administration


Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business


Purpose: The purpose of this paper is to assess the effect of involvement in food preparation on estimated calorie content, perception of portion size, and desirability of the food item.

Design/Methodology/Approach: To test the hypotheses, three between-subjects experiments (one online, two in a laboratory setting) were conducted. Across the three experiments, participants were presented with a food item either ready for consumption (low involvement) or with the individual ingredients in need of assembly prior to consumption (high involvement).

Findings: Results showed that when a consumer is involved in the preparation of their food, they perceive the food to be lower in calories and smaller in portion size than when the same food is presented fully prepared and ready-to-eat. In addition, the effect of food preparation involvement on perception of portion size has negative downstream consequences on food desirability, as a smaller perceived portion resulted in a less desirable food item.

Originality/Value: To the authors knowledge, the results of this research are the first to focus on the impact of preparation involvement on perceptions of the specific product attributes of calorie content and portion size, and the downstream effect on desirability.


This is an Accepted Article published by Emerald in British Food Journal, available at



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