Ellen Van Kleef

Ellen Van Kleef
Wageningen University & Research | WUR · Marketing and Consumer Behaviour Group

PhD

About

107
Publications
102,426
Reads
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3,571
Citations
Citations since 2016
41 Research Items
2072 Citations
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Introduction
More and more people are overweight worldwide. How do we learn to enjoy our world full of food temptations without overeating? And what is the role of subtle cues in the environment that cause you to overindulge? How can changes in the environment (smart interventions) assist in self-control? That are some of the questions that I try to answer with my research on the consumer psychology behind overeating and the loss of self-control.
Additional affiliations
September 2011 - September 2015
Wageningen University & Research
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
September 2010 - present
Wageningen University & Research
Position
  • Professor (Assistant)
September 2009 - August 2010
Cornell University
Position
  • Marie Curie fellow

Publications

Publications (107)
Article
Full-text available
Even though whole grain foods have various health benefits, consumers have been found not to eat enough of them. Nudging interventions are built on the premise that food purchases and consumption are strongly influenced by the environment in which decisions are made. Little research has been conducted to examine the influence of a small and inexpen...
Article
Full-text available
Background The essence of nudging is to adapt the environment in which consumers make decisions to help them make better choices, without forcing certain outcomes upon them. To determine how consumers can effectively be guided to select healthier snacks, we examine the effect of manipulating the assortment structure and shelf layout of an impulse d...
Article
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Background Sufficient protein intake among hospitalized patients may contribute to faster recovery and a decrease in healthcare costs. Nevertheless, hospitalized patients are often found to consume too little protein. This field study explored the success of a small, inexpensive intervention adapted from the marketing literature, to encourage prote...
Article
Full-text available
Background Many children do not eat enough whole grains, which may have negative health consequences. Intervention research is increasingly focusing on nudging as a way to influence food choices by affecting unconscious behavioural processes. The aim of this field study was to examine whether the shape of bread rolls is able to shift children’s bre...
Article
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Nutrition related diseases such as some cancers, heart diseases and obesity belong to the most challenging health concerns of our time. Communicating intuitive and simple nutrition information by means of front-of-pack nutrition profile signposting labelling is increasingly seen as an essential tool in efforts to combat unhealthy food choices and i...
Article
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Visual packaging cues might assist consumers making sustainable choices. In a qualitative study potential packaging cues were explored (study 1). Those cues mostly related to sustainability were tested in a quantitative follow up study (study 2). Study 1: Consumers (n = 30, 39.4 ± 17.1 yrs.) were divided in four focus group discussions in which par...
Article
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Objective To investigate the content of lunchboxes of primary school children and to examine children’s support and preferences for alternative healthy school lunch concepts. Design A cross-sectional study among Dutch children from seven primary schools. The content of the lunchboxes was assessed by photographs. Support and preferences for alterna...
Article
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Background A school provided healthy lunch might help to improve the nutritional quality of children’s lunches. However, in the Netherlands, school lunch programs are not common. The aim of this study was to identify factors that promote or inhibit the implementation of a school lunch program at primary schools, from the viewpoint of school profess...
Article
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Background Traditional food marketing, mostly involving advertisement of nutrient poor and energy dense foods, has the effect of enhancing attitudes, preferences, and increasing intake of marketed foods in adolescents, with detrimental consequences for health. While the use of social media applications in adolescents has proliferated, little is kno...
Article
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Background: Online grocery stores offer opportunities to encourage healthier food choices at the moment that consumers place a product of their choice in their basket. This study assessed the effect of a swap offer, Nutri-Score labeling, and a descriptive norm message on the nutrient profiling (NP) score of food choices in an online food basket. A...
Article
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The ability to perceive bodily signals of satiation and hunger is key for the self-regulation of food intake. Measuring this competence in large populations and/or in ecologically valid conditions requires valid self-reports. In this research, we tested the construct validity of two self-report measures of the Multidimensional Internally Regulated...
Article
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Traditional food marketing stimulates adolescents' consumption of energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods. These dietary behaviours may track into adulthood and lead to weight gain, obesity and related non-communicable diseases. While social media use in adolescents has proliferated, little is known about the content of food marketing within these platfo...
Article
Purpose Snacks at work are often of poor dietary quality. The main objective of the current study is to examine the effect of making vegetable snacks available at workplace meetings on consumption. Design/methodology/approach In three between-subjects field experiments conducted at a hospital and three ministries in the Netherlands, with meeting a...
Article
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An increasing number of studies investigate the effects of mindfulness on food intake and weight outcomes, while the underlying mechanisms by which mindfulness exerts its effects have received less attention. We conducted two pre-registered studies to shed light on the frequently proposed yet largely understudied hypothesis that mindfulness improve...
Article
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Eating habits appear to become less healthy once children move into adolescence. Adolescence is characterized by increasing independence and autonomy. Still, parents continue influencing adolescents’ eating habits. This cross-sectional study used a Self-Determination Theory perspective to examine how parents can support preadolescents’ food-related...
Article
Physical cues surrounding foods are known to influence consumption, but research into the underlying mechanisms is limited. This research aims to disentangle these underlying mechanisms, testing one specific physical aspect: the presence or absence of a cover on snack bowls. We hypothesized that the presence (versus the absence) of a cover would de...
Article
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In this paper, we describe the systematic development and validation of the Multidimensional Internally Regulated Eating Scale (MIRES), a new self-report instrument that quantifies the individual-difference characteristics that together shape the inclination towards eating in response to internal bodily sensations of hunger and satiation (i.e., int...
Article
Internally regulated eating style, the eating style that is driven by internal bodily sensations of hunger and satiation, is a concept that has received increasing attention in the literature and health practice over the last decades. The various attempts that have been made so far to conceptualize internally regulated eating have taken place indep...
Article
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Increasing the relative availability of plant-based (versus animal source) foods seems promising in shifting consumption, but it remains unknown how and under what circumstances this happens. We performed two availability manipulations including different foods. The impact on food choice, social norm perceptions about what others do (descriptive) o...
Article
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Many adolescents have poor eating habits. As a major part of their caloric intake takes place at school, the present study aims to examine the effect of increasing the availability of healthier foods in school canteens on sales, student attitude and self-reported behaviour. A quasi-experimental study was carried out at two vocational schools in the...
Article
Full-text available
Background: Since there is a shift from eating lunch at home to eating lunch at primary schools in the Netherlands, providing a school lunch may be an important opportunity to improve the diet quality of Dutch children. Therefore, the aim of this Healthy School Lunch project is to encourage healthy eating behavior of children at primary schools by...
Article
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Portion sizes of commercially available foods have increased, and there is evidence that exposure to portion sizes recalibrates what is perceived as ‘normal’ and subsequently, how much food is selected and consumed. The present study aims to explore the role of social (descriptive and injunctive) and personal portion size norms in this effect. Acro...
Article
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Background: Lunch is an important part of a healthy diet, which is essential for the development, growth and academic performance of school-aged children. Currently there is an increasing number of Dutch primary schoolchildren who are transitioning from eating lunch at home to school. There is limited knowledge about the current quality of the lun...
Preprint
The concept of internally regulated eating has been explored along several, distinct research lines. The most prominent are those on intuitive eating, eating competence, and mindful eating, but there are also several independent intervention programs that promote eating by internal hunger and satiation cues (i.e., bodily sensations of hunger and sa...
Article
Purpose In many countries, schools move toward healthier canteen assortments by limiting the supply of unhealthy foods. The question arises whether this gives any undesirable side effects with students (e.g. compensation in purchases from school to outside retailers, reactance) and how to handle these so that operating school canteens remains finan...
Article
Children's breakfast habits are suboptimal. A novel school-based education programme was developed and tested with the aim of improving children's attitude, knowledge and breakfast quality. A pre- and post-test design was used with four conditions: group-based education, role modelling, tailored feedback with goal setting, and a combination of thes...
Chapter
This chapter assesses whether nudging techniques can be argued to be a less restrictive but equally effective way to regulate diets in EU law, when contrasted to classical information-related or content-related regulation. It has been argued that nudging techniques, due to their freedom-preserving nature, might influence the proportionality test in...
Article
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Vending machines often provide relatively energy-dense snack foods and beverages at a wide variety of points-of-purchase. Vending-machine interventions that stimulate low-calorie choices can therefore play a role in improving the healthfulness of the food environment landscape. The aim of this study is to examine the effects of four vending-machine...
Chapter
"Nudges" refers to a variety of simple changes in consumers' choice environment done in such a way that the desired individual choice (e.g., the healthy choice) becomes more likely. Nudging is supposed to work by appealing to consumers' heuristic cues and biases in decision-making. Nudging research to change consumer behavior for the good has been...
Article
Consumer choices are often influenced by the default option presented. This study examines the effect of whole wheat bread as a default option in a sandwich choice situation. Whole wheat bread consists of 100% whole grain and is healthier than other bread types that are commonly consumed, such as brown or white bread. A pilot survey (N = 291) exami...
Article
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Purpose The purpose of this paper is to test whether the IKEA-effect (Norton et al., 2012) – better liking for self-crafted products than for identical products crafted by others – can be exploited to increase liking and consumption of vegetable snacks in children. Design/methodology/approach A between-subjects experiment was conducted at an aft...
Article
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De consumptie van voldoende vezels is een belangrijke factor in het voorkomen van welvaartsaandoeningen, zoals obesitas, diabetes II, hart- en vaatziekten en bepaalde vormen van kanker. Per dag wordt geadviseerd 30 tot 40 gram vezels te eten. De huidige inname is gemiddeld echter slechts 18-23 gram per dag (1,2). Het lijkt daarom een goede zaak de...
Article
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Health-related claims and symbols are intended as aids to help consumers make informed and healthier food choices but they can also stimulate the food industry to develop food that goes hand in hand with a healthier lifestyle. In order to better understand the role that health claims and symbols currently have and in the future potentially can have...
Article
There is little agreement among governments, institutions, scientists and food activists as to how to best tackle the challenging issues of health and sustainability in the food sector. This essay discusses the potential of school meals as a platform to promote healthy and sustainable food behavior. School meal programs are of particular interest f...
Article
The objective of this study was to explore parents', children's, and experts' beliefs and experiences about breakfast motivation, opportunity, and ability and elicit their thoughts on effective interventions to encourage healthy breakfast consumption. The setting was a disadvantaged neighbourhood in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. Focus groups with mot...
Chapter
Regulators legislate businesses’ use of claims on product packaging by mostly focusing on textual claims and the extent to which they could potentially mislead consumers. Interpreting textual claims generally requires consumers to engage in extensive and deliberate processing (so-called type 2 processing in dual processing models in social psycholo...
Chapter
Full-text available
Regulators legislate businesses’ use of claims on product packaging by mostly focusing on textual claims and the extent to which they could potentially mislead consumers. Interpreting textual claims generally requires consumers to engage in extensive and deliberate processing (so-called type 2 processing in dual processing models in social psycholo...
Article
Full-text available
Inadequate regulation of food intake plays an important role in the development of overweight and obesity, and is under the influence of both the internal appetite control system and external environmental cues. Especially in environments where food is overly available, external cues seem to override and/or undermine internal signals, which put sev...
Article
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This study explores the role of dichotomous thinking on eating behavior and its association with restraint eating and weight regain in a wide range of people. In a web-based survey with 241 adults, dichotomous thinking and behavioral outcomes related to eating (restraint eating, weight regain, body mass index, dieting) were assessed. Results showed...
Article
Full-text available
People eat more unhealthy foods when served more (portion size effect) and when the food is served in larger units (unit size effect). The present study aimed to examine whether these effects can be used for the good: to increase vegetable consumption among children. A 2×2 between-subjects experiment was conducted at two schools. Pupils were presen...
Article
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People often have good intentions to eat healthily, but these intentions may get overruled by temporary moments of temptation. The current study examined the effectiveness of "verbal prompting" as a nudge to increase fruit salad sales in a natural setting. A field experiment was conducted in a self-service restaurant during breakfast time. After an...
Article
Elderly face an increased risk of nutritional deficiencies due to reduced appetites and increased nutritional needs. The development of appealing enriched functional foods holds a great potential for improving the nutritional status of this group of consumers. However, the elderly population is strongly heterogeneous, which poses a challenge to ful...
Article
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It is beneficial for both the public health community and the food industry to meet nutritional needs of elderly consumers through product formats that they want. The heterogeneity of the elderly market poses a challenge, however, and calls for market segmentation. Although many researchers have proposed ways to segment the elderly consumer populat...
Article
Promoting protein consumption in the elderly population may contribute to improving the quality of their later years in life. Our study aimed to explore knowledge, perceptions and preferences of elderly consumers regarding protein-enriched food. We conducted three focus groups with independently living (ID) elderly (N = 24, Mage = 67 years) and thr...
Article
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Objective: What predicts whether a child will be at risk for obesity? Whereas past research has focused on foods, eating habits, feeding styles, and family meal patterns, this study departs from a food-centric approach to examine how various dinner rituals might influence the BMIs of children and adults. Methods: In this study of 190 parents (BM...
Data
Full-text available
In deciding how much to eat, people are influenced by environmental cues. The unit size of food (i.e. the number of units in which a given amount of food is divided) provides such a cue. Previous research showed that given equal caloric and volumetric content, smaller units of food tend to reduce food consumption. We propose that the unit size of f...
Article
Full-text available
Abstract In deciding how much to eat, people are influenced by environmental cues. The unit size of food (i.e. the number of units in which a given amount of food is divided) provides such a cue. Previous research showed that given equal caloric and volumetric content, smaller units of food tend to reduce food consumption. We propose that the unit...
Chapter
Nutrition and food safety related diseases such as foodborne illnesses, some cancers, and obesity belong to the most challenging health concerns of our time. As a consequence, the provision of information about diet, health, and nutrition is increasing, spread rapidly by the (mass) media, including social media. Communication regarding diet, health...
Article
Full-text available
In the context of increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity in societies worldwide, enhancing the satiating capacity of foods may help people control their energy intake and weight. This requires an integrated approach between various food-related disciplines. By structuring this approach around the new product development process, this paper...
Article
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Purpose – The aim of this study is to identify and explore consumer preferences and information needs regarding the simultaneous communication of risks and benefits associated with food consumption. The focus is on the net health impact of risks and benefits on life expectancy, quality of life, and disability adjusted life years (DALYs). Design/met...
Article
To determine how common serving bowls containing food for multiple persons influence serving behavior and consumption and whether they do so independently of satiation and food evaluation. In this between-subjects experiment, 68 participants were randomly assigned to either a group serving pasta from a large-sized bowl (6.9-L capacity) or a medium-...
Article
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Past research has shown that promotional messages such as food advertising influence food consumption. However, what has gone largely unexplored is the effect of exercise advertising on food intake. This study experimentally tested the effects of exposure to exercise commercials on food intake at a lunch meal as compared to the effects of control c...
Article
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Purpose Consumer perceptions regarding what constitutes best food risk management (FRM) practice may vary as a consequence of cross‐cultural differences in consumer perceptions, cultural contexts, and historical differences in governance practices and occurrence of food safety incidents. The purpose of this paper is to compare the views of Russian...
Article
Research in developed countries showed that many citizens perceive that radio signals transmitted by mobile phones and base stations represent potential health risks. Less research has been conducted in developing countries focused on citizen perceptions of risks and benefits, despite the recent and rapid introduction of mobile communication techno...
Article
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In European countries, there has been growing consumer distrust regarding the motives of food safety regulators and other actors in the food chain, partly as a result of recent food safety incidents. If consumer confidence in food safety is to be improved, a systematic understanding of what consumers perceive to be best practice in risk management...
Article
Recent emphasis within policy circles has been on transparent communication with consumers about food risk management decisions and practices. As a consequence, it is important to develop best practice regarding communication with the public about how food risks are managed. In the current study, the provision of information about regulatory enforc...
Article
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In light of the emerging obesity pandemic, front-of-pack calories labels may be an important tool to assist consumers in making informed healthier food choices. However, there is little prior research to guide key decisions on whether caloric content should be expressed in absolute terms or relative to recommended daily intake, whether it should be...
Article
In this paper, we address the issue of food risk management as practised in Western Europe. We begin by considering how food risks are managed, and then go on to consider how well they are managed. There are multiple answers to the ‘how well’ question, which are related to the varied perspectives of the different key stakeholders – from the food ri...
Article
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Both consumers and organizations hold a dualistic attitude towards product innovativeness. Consumers are known to hold an inherent tendency to approach (neophilia) and avoid (neophobia) new food products at the same time. Similarly, at a managerial level it is not all that clear whether revenues of innovation strategies should come primarily from i...
Article
In developing and implementing appropriate food risk management strategies, it is important to understand how consumers evaluate the quality of food risk management practices. The aim of this study is to model the underlying psychological factors influencing consumer evaluations of food risk management quality using structural equation modeling tec...