Off-campus UNL users: To download campus access dissertations, please use the following link to log into our proxy server with your NU ID and password. When you are done browsing please remember to return to this page and log out.

Non-UNL users: Please talk to your librarian about requesting this dissertation through interlibrary loan.

Essays on Portion Size Obesity and Food Waste

Hanin Hosni, University of Nebraska - Lincoln


The first essay develops novel models of heterogeneous consumer preferences for different dining options and imperfect competition among food suppliers to analyze the market and welfare effects of portion size reduction (PSR) for food away from home. Different scenarios on the nature of differentiation of the dining options, the information available to consumers, and their response to links between portion size and obesity, food waste, and climate change are considered within this framework. The market and welfare effects of the policy are quantified using a simulation analysis. The analysis shows that the market and welfare effects of the policy are case-specific and dependent on the relative magnitude of the cost and utility effects of PSR, the strength of the consumer preference for dining out, and the food suppliers’ initial costs and degree of market power in the relevant markets. The policy can create winners and losers among consumers and accounting for consumer heterogeneity, as done in this study, is essential for capturing the asymmetric welfare effects of PSR. Intriguingly, consumers and suppliers can benefit from PSR even without accounting for any health or/and environmental benefits of reduced portion sizes. Since, along costs, consumer reaction to PSR is a key determinant of the market and welfare outcome of the policy, in the second essay we designed a laboratory experiment and implemented a BDM auction mechanism to examine the impact of framing the benefits of a smaller portion size in terms of health and environment benefits, on the valuation of different sizes of a sandwich. The study also investigated whether the mode of information provision (i.e., simultaneously or sequentially) affects consumer valuation. Our findings suggest that information provision increases consumers’ valuation for the small sandwich and decreases consumers’ valuation for the large sandwich. Results also show that the difference between the WTP for the large sandwich and the WTP for the small sandwich is greater when information is given simultaneously relative to when it’s given sequentially.

Subject Area

Agricultural economics|Nutrition

Recommended Citation

Hosni, Hanin, "Essays on Portion Size Obesity and Food Waste" (2023). ETD collection for University of Nebraska-Lincoln. AAI30245536.