1University of Houston 2University of Georgia 3University of Georgia & Virginia Common Wealth University
Fast food restaurants are increasing the number of healthier menu items to counter the criticism of promoting energy dense and nutritionally poor fast foods. However, relatively fewer studies have specifically investigated whether the promotion of healthier menu items will be positively perceived and trusted by consumers as intended. Building on previous research, this study investigated the influence of health consciousness, brand commitment, and perceived brand healthiness on consumer perceptions of healthy benefit, unhealthy risk, taste, and ad-trust following exposure to fast food restaurant advertisements featuring healthy food choices. Using a set of moderated regression analyses, the results found that consumers’ perceived benefit, taste, and advertisement trust tended to increase for healthier menu brands, and for more health-conscious consumers and those committed for the advertised brands. Theoretical and practical implications of the findings are discussed to promote healthy food marketing.