Eating healthy has become the mainstream lifestyle today. Oral haptics often provide the first impression during food evaluation and are the most direct and important sensory experience affecting whether consumers continue to consume the food. Based on the mental association mechanism and image schema theory, this study converts actually experienced oral haptics into pure text description in food advertisements and examines how such textual descriptions affect consumers’ calorie estimations. This research conducted three experiments and found that (1) textual descriptions of soft (vs. hard) oral haptics can induce consumers to have higher calorie estimations;(2) low-fat claims and consumers’ low weight-loss intentions weaken the effect of oral-haptic descriptions on calorie estimations, but using a low angle to photograph the advertised food strengthens this effect; (3) camera angles affect food perception; (4) the effect of oral-haptic descriptions on purchase intention depends on consumers’ food consumption goals. These findings provide important theoretical implications on food consumption research. Practical suggestions for food manufacturers, marketers, and consumers are discussed.
oral haptics, calorie estimation, associative theory, image schema theory