Harper Adams’ student asks how celebrity backing affects consumers’ food choice

How much do celebrity endorsements of food products affect consumer behaviour? That’s the question being addressed by Harper Adams’ final year student, Lisa Pinner, with a view to helping food producers and manufacturers improve their promotional impact.

“There has been plenty of media coverage on the effect that stereotypical body images, such as those of celebrities, have on the general public,” said Ms Pinner ([pictured).  “Quite often, stereotypical images portrayed in the media can cause body dissatisfaction in both men and women.

“What I want to find out, however, is how this affects shopping habits and food choices, and also whether men are as influenced as women by this celebrity culture.”

Citing examples of celebrity endorsements such as Nicole Scherzinger and Muller yoghurts and Gary Lineker and Walkers crisps, Ms Pinner said she already believed using celebrities to endorse a product can prove an effective method of marketing for food manufacturers.

“I predict that the results will show that women are more likely to buy healthy products if they are promoted by a celebrity, but due to the lack of existing literature, can’t predict whether this will also apply to men,” she said.

Ms Pinner, who is from a non-farming background, is currently analysing her results with a view to publishing her research later this year.

Harper Adams University maintains a close involvement with the pig industry through its running of a pig industry scholarship scheme in conjunction with BPEX.

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