Fashionable food: a latent class analysis of social status in food purchases Academic Article uri icon


  • 2016 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. A framed field experiment combined with a latent class econometric approach was used to investigate how prestige-seeking behaviour influences food choices. We propose a theoretical framework to test conspicuous consumption of specialty food products. We test the hypothesis empirically by categorizing individuals into unobserved latent classes according to their general prestige-seeking behaviour. We find evidence of food consumption driven by prestige to the point of becoming a symbol of social status. The prestige-seeking behaviour seems to be motivated by invidious comparison or higher-class individuals seeking to differentiate themselves from lower-class individuals; and pecuniary emulation, or lower-class individuals buying prestigious goods in order to be perceived as members of a higher class. Findings from this study revealed that the effects of differentiating labelling attributes had a higher impact for individuals classified into classes with prestige-seeking behaviour to attain an elevated social status.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Palma, M. A., Ness, M. L., & Anderson, D. P.

complete list of authors

  • Palma, Marco A||Ness, Meghan L||Anderson, David P

publication date

  • January 1, 2017 11:11 AM