The influence of mortality reminders on cultural in‐group versus out‐group takeaway food safety perceptions during the COVID‐19 pandemic


During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic takeaway food orders generally increased, yet sales of Chinese and Italian food declined. At this time, news sources ran stories on the safety of cuisine from these countries, frequently juxtaposed with communications on mortality-related information related to the virus. Terror management theory suggests mortality concerns can lead people to defend against the psychological threat of death by bolstering positive evaluations of products and values of their own culture, and by disparaging products and values of other cultures. This translates to food preferences, with death reminders heightening consumption of food from one's own (vs. others’) culture. However, whether this extends to food safety perceptions has not yet been probed. In the present experimental study, we examine whether death reminders (vs. a control topic) led U.S. participants to view American takeaway food as safer to consume, relative to Chinese and Italian food. Results indicate that across conditions, American food was evaluated as safer relative to Chinese and Italian takeout. Further, American takeaway was seen as safer after mortality reminders (vs. a control topic), with no differences in safety evaluations for Chinese or Italian takeout. Results are discussed in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Publication DOI:
Divisions: College of Business and Social Sciences > Aston Business School > Work & Organisational Psychology
College of Business and Social Sciences
Additional Information: © 2021 The Authors. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Publication ISSN: 1559-1816
Last Modified: 15 May 2024 17:28
Date Deposited: 11 Jan 2023 13:04
Full Text Link:
Related URLs: https://onlinel ... 1111/jasp.12740 (Publisher URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2021-04-18
Published Online Date: 2021-01-26
Accepted Date: 2021-01-04
Authors: McCabe, Simon (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-1106-9535)
Erdem, Seda



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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