Eat turkey on Thursday! – Eating a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with turkey and mashed potatoes makes consumers less likely to buy on impulse, which might affect the outcome of their shopping on Black Friday, historically one of the busiest retail shopping days of the year.
Arul Mishra and Himanshu Mishra say the types of food consumed during Thanksgiving can influence impulsive choices; for instance whether consumers buy on sales the next day or not. According to Mishra, “Most of us don’t connect what we eat to our subsequent choices. However, our research shows that types of food, such as turkey, make people behave less impulsively. Such people are less likely to buy products available at a discount and will find it easier to restrain their impulsive urges and choices.”
The researchers approached study participants between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. on a Thanksgiving holiday and asked them to fill out an online questionnaire. Mishra says, “We found that participants who had consumed a traditional Thanksgiving dinner with turkey displayed less willingness to buy deeply discounted products compared to those who did not consume a traditional dinner.”
The combination of tryptophan-rich foods like turkey and carbohydrates like mashed potatoes increases levels of serotonin, a chemical produced in the brain that affects many functions in the central nervous system, including mood, appetite, sleep and some cognition. Serotonin levels have also been shown to correlate with impulsive behaviors. The researchers conclude people who have increased levels of serotonin, such as someone who recently ate a large turkey dinner, are less prone to impulsive purchases. Most meats (including turkey and chicken) have the amino-acid tryptophan that synthesizes serotonin. Vegetarians take note: Tofu has it too!
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