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Kelly Haws

Anne Marie and Thomas B. Walker, Jr. Professor of Marketing

Expert in food consumption choices, dieting, financial decision making, and self-control in consumption.


A prolific researcher with a focus on consumer behavior, Kelly Haws' work on food decision-making has garnered significant attention from marketers and consumers alike. Haws was named a Young Scholar by the Marketing Science Institute (MSI) in 2009, and in 2013, she was awarded the Early Career Award by the Association of Consumer Research. In 2018, she was recognized as an MSI Scholar. She was previously a Vanderbilt Chancellor’s Faculty Fellow, and now holds the Anne Marie and Thomas B. Walker, Jr. Chair. Haws is an Associate Editor for the Journal of Marketing and the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science and an editorial review board member for the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Consumer Psychology, Journal of Retailing, the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, Marketing Letters, and the Journal of Business Research. She is the co-chair of the Society of Consumer Psychology 2019 conference. Haws' work has appeared in numerous publications, including the Journal of Consumer Research, the Journal of Marketing Research, the Journal of Marketing, the Journal of Consumer Psychology, the Journal of Public Policy & Marketing, Management Science, the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, the Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Appetite, the American Journal of Preventative Medicine, and others. Haws teaches Consumer Analysis at the graduate level and Principles of Marketing at the undergraduate level.

Media Appearances

  • Mom Dragged for Trying To Enforce 'Clear Your Plate' Rule on Friend's Kid

    Kelly Haws, one of the co-authors of the study who is a marketing professor at Tennessee's Vanderbilt University, explained: "Many of us were raised with this 'clean your plate' mentality, stemming from a desire to ensure one is not being wasteful or their children are eating well; however, this can also lead to overconsumption."

    July 11th, 2022

  • The annual rite of pumpkin spice: Have we hit 'peak' pumpkin? Apparently not

    Some of these new products may test consumers' love of pumpkin spice. "If pumpkin spice is taken too far, it is unlikely to be a success," said Kelly Haws, professor of marketing at Vanderbilt University. "After all, to stick around, a significant number of consumers have to not only try but also repurchase the product."

    September 11th, 2021

  • Why the Pumpkin Spice Latte will never die

    Kelly Haws, a Vanderbilt marketing professor who specializes in consumers’ food decision-making, says there’s also a nostalgia factor at play. “The flavor brings back positive memories for people around family, the holidays, and the fall,” says Haws. “It’s also typically coupled with something sweet and fattening, and we have an innate need and desire for sugar and fat, and many of these pumpkin spice products have a lot of both.” (A 16-ounce Starbucks PSL has 390 calories and 14 grams of fat.) Haws echoes the comedian Raft: “It also just feels like something fun and happy to think about when the news is full of not very pleasant things.”

    August 27th, 2021

  • 4 shopping mistakes to avoid this Amazon Prime Day

    “Scarcity is one of the most persuasive techniques that marketers use,” Kelly Haws, consumer psychology expert and Vanderbilt University marketing professor previously told CNBC Make It.

    June 20th, 2021

  • Crumpled clothes and bare shelves: As retailers like Walmart, Macy’s woo customers back, some have to clean up shop

    Kelly Haws, a consumer psychologist and professor of marketing at Vanderbilt University, said store presentation will shape whether consumers feel eager or anxious to shop. She said cleanliness is most important for many consumers because of the global health crisis.

    April 13th, 2021

  • How Ugg is making a major comeback 20 years after its heyday

    "Times of uncertainty often drive us toward products that provide comfort and even nostalgia. Although the Ugg brand has worked hard to extend its product lines and refresh its brand, ultimately, the brand is associated with warmth, comfort and durability," said Kelly Haws, a professor of marketing at Vanderbilt University. "Add to the turbulence, uncertainty, casualwear of the home office of 2020 and the changing seasons, and you have a recipe custom made for increased demand for Uggs."

    December 14th, 2020

  • How to balance eating to live and living to eat | Opinion

    Few of us have escaped the stress and anxiety of our lives being disrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic. And for many of us, that has led to a reckoning with food. We might seize this moment in time by consoling ourselves with food or instead take the opportunity to develop new, healthier habits.

    January 5th, 2021

  • 7 common shopping mistakes to avoid on Amazon Prime Day

    According to consumer psychology expert Kelly Haws, like Black Friday or Cyber Monday, the idea with Prime Day is that Amazon “tries to throw a lot at a consumer to get them excited about this very limited time opportunity,” the Vanderbilt University marketing professor says.

    October 11th, 2020

  • Constant dieters might be choosing the wrong way to lose weight

    Dieters looking for a healthier substitute of their favorite high-fat food – such as a bag of potato chips – typically have two choices in the grocery aisle: a smaller package of the exact same food or a larger portion of a “light” version. In a series of studies, we put this choice to consumers and found that people who frequently try to cut back on their eating or are essentially always on a diet – known as “restrained eaters” – prefer the larger portion size of the light version, even though both contained the exact same number of calories. Participants who indicated that they rarely dieted tended to pick the smaller size with the full flavor.

    August 25th, 2020

  • ‘I’ll have what she’s having’ – how and why we copy the choices of others

    Imagine you’re dining out at a casual restaurant with some friends. After looking over the menu, you decide to order the steak. But then, after a dinner companion orders a salad for their main course, you declare: “I’ll have the salad too.” This kind of situation – making choices that you probably otherwise wouldn’t make were you alone – probably happens more often than you think in a wide variety of settings, from eating out to shopping and even donating to charity. And it’s not just a matter of you suddenly realizing the salad sounds more appetizing.

    September 6th, 2019


Ph.D., University of South Carolina

M.B.A., Mississippi State University

B.B.A., Mississippi State University


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