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Food, Pleasure, and Consumer Well-Being: Contributions to Marketing and Theory

Special issue call for papers from Qualitative Market Research

Guest Editors:

Wided Batat, Associate Professor – University Lyon 2

Paula C. Peter, Associate Professor – San Diego State University

Aims and scope:

This special issue seeks to expand the research conducted to date, and approach the relationship between food pleasure and well-being through a broad lens-focusing on experiential and hedonic food and drink consumption. This experiential and hedonic food consumption may come from socio-cultural, economic, ideological, symbolic amongst many that influence the experiential pleasure of food and its contribution to consumer health, food and drink education, and individual or societal well-being. This special issue originates from a simple but hard to tackle question: how and to what extent does the focus on the experiential pleasure of food and drink modify the research agenda of scholars investigating the role of healthy eating in promoting well-being? In this special issue call we call from papers drawn from a wide range of disciplines, which all share an interest in experiential and hedonic food and drink consumption, such as Consumer Culture Research (CCT), Transformative Consumer Research (TCR), and social marketing amongst others.

A preliminary answer is detectable in the role of pleasure in terms of hedonic consumption (Hirshman and Holbrook 1982; Holbrook and Hirshman 1982) and epicurean eating (Cornil and Chandon 2016). Here epicurean eating is defined as “the enduring pleasure derived from the aesthetic appreciation of the sensory and symbolic value of the food” (Cornil and Chandon 2016, p.52). We believe that pleasure plays an important but often neglected role in the making of personal and social well-being. Pleasure, as applied to a TCR agenda, calls for synergistic theoretical and methodological approaches that we are confident will lead to interesting and novel ideas related to food and drink well-being. The notion of pleasure depends on the socio-cultural context, and the food and drink culture where it has been shaped. For example, in the North American food culture, the notion of pleasure (Alba and Williams 2013) is separated from an individual’s daily life and is limited to special times where guilty pleasures (e.g., indulging in chocolate) are a moral failing. In the European food culture, especially in the French context, food education is based on everyday pleasurable food experiences. Pleasure in the French culture refers to a moral value because it serves as a compass guiding people in their actions (Stearns 1997). French parents begin teaching their children about this moral value from early childhood in a process called “the education of taste” (Reverdy 2009). This idea has much in common with the notion of mindfulness that refers to giving one’s self over to the moment and living it fully. Experiential aspects related to food and drink such as discovering novelty, epicurean eating, tasting, experimenting, hedonism, estheticism, and symbolism are all part of food and drink pleasure and education to facilitate the adoption of healthy diet and achieve well-being.

This special issue will explore hedonic consumption and the epicurean perspective, which suggests that experiential food and drink pleasure may in fact facilitate moderation and well-being (Cornil and Chandon 2016). In line with the prior research in marketing on the role of design on overeating (Wansink and Chandon 2014), the French paradox of meal cessation (Wansink, Payne, and Chandon 2007), wine and sensory expectation in North America (Wansink, Payne, and North 2007) and comfort food preferences across age and gender (Wansink, Cheney, and Chan 2003), this special issue takes a holistic and socio-cultural perspective to explore the role of pleasure in food and drink consumption. In doing so we aim to understand how the experiential side of food and drink pleasure may drive healthy eating habits in different food and drink cultures or otherwise. The idea of epicurean consumption of food and drink, and its contribution to improve healthy living has recently been highlighted in a research conducted by Cornil and Chandon (2015, 2016) who explored the impact of pleasure on adopting healthy eating behaviors by reducing portion size and thus improving consumer well-being. In their research, Cornil and Chandon (2016) compared a visceral food approach based on biological needs and a new epicurean approach based on enduring pleasure to explore the role of aesthetic appreciation of the sensory and symbolic value of the food in healthy eating and well-being. The results of their research showed that, unlike visceral eating, epicurean eating tendencies are associated with a preference for smaller food portions and higher food well-being. However, consumers do not always engage in epicurean food and drink consumption as they perceive it as a socially and a culturally unacceptable eating tendency. Instead they may associate food and drink pleasure with unhealthy behaviors, overeating and excessive drinking.

In the line with the focus of QMR, we welcome papers with qualitative methodologies or other alternative qualitative techniques used off and online. All disciplinary, theoretical (e.g., practice theory, sociological of food theory, anthropology of food, etc.) and qualitative methodological perspectives are welcomed. We aim to stimulate research in three key areas. First, shedding new perspectives on the experiential pleasure of food and drink, food and drink well-being and the challenges and opportunities associated with identifying epicurean eating behaviors, and their impact on promoting healthy eating and drinking. Second, examining constraints and obstacles related to the adoption of epicurean eating and drinking amongst consumers and its promotion by the food and drinks industry, and policy makers. Finally, we also welcome novel empirical and conceptual research that challenges our understanding of epicurean eating and drinking, the experiential pleasure of food and drinking, and its contribution to food health as well as individual and social well-being.

Topics for this special issue include, but not limited, to the following themes:

a.  The concept of “pleasure” in marketing and the experiential pleasure of food and drinking
b.  The role of social media in enhancing the experiential pleasure of food and drinking
c.  Experiential food and drinking consumption
d.  Characteristics, drivers and consequences of food and drink experience
e.  Epicurean versus visceral food and drink consumption behavior
f.   Key determinants of experiential pleasure of food and drinking
g.  Food and drinking well-being 
-    estheticism and well-being
-    socialization and sharing
-    storytelling and nostalgia
-    symbolism
-    taste, sensory aspects
-    consciousness/mindfulness
h.  Cross-cultural approach of food and drinking pleasure, and well-being
i.   Relationship between experiential pleasure of food and drinking within various micro and macro cultures
j.   Macro and micro factors affecting the experiential pleasure of food and drinking
k.  New and alternative method to study the experiential pleasure of food and drinking
l.   Critical perspective on food and drinking well-being

Submission Requirements and Information:

Inquiries can be directed to the special issue co-editors: Wided Batat (wided.batat@univ-lyon2.fr) and Paula Peter (ppeter@mail.sdsu.edu). Submissions should follow the manuscript format guidelines for QMR found at: http://emeraldgrouppublishing.com/products/journals/author_guidelines.htm?id=qmr

All manuscripts should be submitted through the QMR online submission system at https://emeraldgrouppublishing.com/products/journals/journals.htm?id=QMR#news


Submission of full paper: 30th June 2018


Alba, J. W., & Williams, E. F. (2013). Pleasure principles: a review of research on hedonic consumption. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 23, 2–18.
Block, L. G., Grier, S. A., Childers, T. L., Davis, B., Ebert, J. E. J., Kumanyika, S., et al. (2011). From nutrients to nurturance: a conceptual introduction to food well- being. Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, 30, 5–13.
Cornil, Y, & Chandon, P. (2016), “Pleasure as an Ally of Healthy Eating? Contrasting Visceral and Epicurean Eating Pleasure and Their Association with Portion Size Preferences and Wellbeing,” Appetite, 104, 52–59.
Hirschman, E. C., & Holbrook, M. B. (1982). Hedonic consumption: emerging concepts, methods and propositions. The Journal of Marketing, 92–101.
Holbrook, M. B., & Hirschman, E. C. (1982). The experiential aspects of consumption: consumer fantasies, feelings, and fun. Journal of Consumer Research, 9, 132–140.
Reverdy, C. (2009). Effet d’une éducation sensorielle sur les préférences et les comportements alimentaires d’enfants en classe de cours moyen. PhD dissertation. Université de Bourgogne, France.
Stearns, P. (1997). Fat history. New York: New York University Press.
Wansink, B., & Chandon, P. (2014). Slim by design: redirecting the accidental drivers of mindless overeating. Journal of Consumer Psychology, 24, 413–431.
Wansink, B., Cheney, M. M., & Chan, N. (2003). Exploring comfort food preferences across age and gender. Physiology & Behavior, 79, 739–747.
Wansink, B., Payne, C. R., & Chandon, P. (2007). Internal and external cues of meal cessation: the French Paradox Redux? Obesity, 15, 2920–2924.
Wansink, B., Payne, C. R., & North, J. (2007). Fine as North Dakota wine: sensory expectations and the intake of companion foods. Physiology & Behavior, 90, 712–716.