Consumer segmentation as a means to investigate emotional associations to meals

Betina Piqueras-Fiszman*, Sara R. Jaeger

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Consumers naturally associate emotions to meal occasions and understanding these can advance knowledge of food-related behaviours and attitudes. The present study used an online survey to investigate the emotional associations that people have with recalled meals: 'memorable' (MM) and 'routine' evening (RM). Heterogeneity in the studied consumer population (UK adults, n = 576 and 571, respectively) was accounted for using a data-driven approach to establish emotion-based segments. Two groups of people were identified with very different emotional response patterns to recalled meals. For 'memorable' and 'routine' meals the majority of people (Cluster 1) held strong positive and weak negative emotional associations. In Cluster 2, positive emotions remained more strongly associated than negative emotions, but much less so. In accordance with findings based on other response variables (e.g., preference, attitudes), psychographic variables accounted better for the heterogeneity found in the emotion associations than socio-demographic variables. Participants' level of meal engagement and difficulty in describing feelings (DDF scale) were the two most important predictors of cluster membership.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)249-258
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Consumer research
  • Consumer segments
  • Emotion associations
  • Food choice factors
  • Psychographics
  • Recalled meals

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