Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Food displays, food colors affect how much people eat

11.05.2004


Variety may be the spice of life -- and a key contributor to an expanding waistline.

Research by Brian Wansink, a professor of marketing and nutritional science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, challenges the conventional notion that a person’s ability to control eating and stick to a successful diet has solely to do with willpower.

Little-understood contextual cues -- such as how food is displayed and its variety of colors -- can lead people to overindulge and unknowingly bulk up, he says in an article he wrote that has been published in the Journal of Consumer Research.



For example, adults offered six colored flavors of jellybeans mixed together in the same bowl ate 69 percent more than when the colors were each placed in separate bowls.

In another study, moviegoers given M&Ms in 10 colors ate 43 percent more than those offered the same number of M&Ms in seven colors. Wansink and co-author Barbara E. Kahn, a professor of marketing at the University of Pennsylvania, concluded that not just variety, but the perception of variety, stimulates how much a person consumes.

"People eat with their eyes, and their eyes trick their stomachs," Wansink said in an interview. "If we think there’s more variety in a candy dish or on a buffet table, we will eat more. The more colors we see, the more we eat."

In the case of jellybeans, a variety of flavors in a bowl was greeted by such comments as "looks really colorful," "feels enjoyable," "satisfied as I ate" and "gives me at least one flavor that I like."

An earlier study by Wansink found that moviegoers given an extra-large bucket of popcorn will eat up to 50 percent more than those given a container one size smaller -- even when the popcorn is stale.

Other studies have found that, hungry or not, office employees will eat more if their desks are stocked with food, or if the food is nearby, or if the package is open, or if the container holding the food is clear rather than opaque.

"Many of us are reasonably diligent about what we eat, but we don’t put that much thought into how much we eat," Wansink said. "People may decide to eat grapes instead of potato chips because it’s healthier. Once they make that initial choice, they tend not to monitor how much they eat. And a pound of grapes isn’t calorie-free."

Consumers need to become more aware of how color, package size, variety and physical proximity influence the amount of food they ingest.

"If we ate 100 fewer calories a day, instead of gaining 10 pounds at the end of a year, maybe we’d lose 10 pounds. Small factors, like the type of candy bowl in your office, might add five more Hershey’s Kisses a day to your diet," he said.

"People may say: ’What’s the big deal? Five more chocolates isn’t that significant.’ But five more chocolates is 125 more calories per day. Over a month of weekdays, that’s 2,500 calories, or two-thirds of a pound."

Wansink, the director of the Food & Brand Lab at Illinois, offered several tips about ways to curb overeating:
  • Avoid multiple bowls of the same food at parties or receptions because they increase perceptions of variety and stimulate overeating.

  • At buffets and receptions avoid having more than two different foods on your plate at the same time.

Wansink’s tips for mothers and food vendors to promote healthy eating include:

  • Arrange foods into organized patterns and avoid cramming meal tables or restaurant display cases with too much variety.

  • Arrange fruits and vegetables in less-organized patterns to stimulate appetites.

  • Assemble smaller helpings of more items for children or elderly adults with finicky eating habits.

The title of the paper, which appeared in the March 2004 issue of the journal, is "The Influence of Assortment Structure on Perceived Variety and Consumption Quantities."

Mark Reutter | UIUC
Further information:
http://www.news.uiuc.edu/news/04/0510food.html

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht New measure for the wellbeing of populations could replace Human Development Index
07.11.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

nachricht Because not only arguments count
30.10.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Mathematik in den Naturwissenschaften (MPIMIS)

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Successfully Tested in Praxis: Bidirectional Sensor Technology Optimizes Laser Material Deposition

The quality of additively manufactured components depends not only on the manufacturing process, but also on the inline process control. The process control ensures a reliable coating process because it detects deviations from the target geometry immediately. At LASER World of PHOTONICS 2019, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be demonstrating how well bi-directional sensor technology can already be used for Laser Material Deposition (LMD) in combination with commercial optics at booth A2.431.

Fraunhofer ILT has been developing optical sensor technology specifically for production measurement technology for around 10 years. In particular, its »bd-1«...

Im Focus: The hidden structure of the periodic system

The well-known representation of chemical elements is just one example of how objects can be arranged and classified

The periodic table of elements that most chemistry books depict is only one special case. This tabular overview of the chemical elements, which goes back to...

Im Focus: MPSD team discovers light-induced ferroelectricity in strontium titanate

Light can be used not only to measure materials’ properties, but also to change them. Especially interesting are those cases in which the function of a material can be modified, such as its ability to conduct electricity or to store information in its magnetic state. A team led by Andrea Cavalleri from the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter in Hamburg used terahertz frequency light pulses to transform a non-ferroelectric material into a ferroelectric one.

Ferroelectricity is a state in which the constituent lattice “looks” in one specific direction, forming a macroscopic electrical polarisation. The ability to...

Im Focus: Determining the Earth’s gravity field more accurately than ever before

Researchers at TU Graz calculate the most accurate gravity field determination of the Earth using 1.16 billion satellite measurements. This yields valuable knowledge for climate research.

The Earth’s gravity fluctuates from place to place. Geodesists use this phenomenon to observe geodynamic and climatological processes. Using...

Im Focus: Tube anemone has the largest animal mitochondrial genome ever sequenced

Discovery by Brazilian and US researchers could change the classification of two species, which appear more akin to jellyfish than was thought.

The tube anemone Isarachnanthus nocturnus is only 15 cm long but has the largest mitochondrial genome of any animal sequenced to date, with 80,923 base pairs....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

SEMANTiCS 2019 brings together industry leaders and data scientists in Karlsruhe

29.04.2019 | Event News

Revered mathematicians and computer scientists converge with 200 young researchers in Heidelberg!

17.04.2019 | Event News

First dust conference in the Central Asian part of the earth’s dust belt

15.04.2019 | Event News

 
Latest News

A new force for optical tweezers awakens

19.06.2019 | Physics and Astronomy

New AI system manages road infrastructure via Google Street View

19.06.2019 | Information Technology

A new manufacturing process for aluminum alloys

19.06.2019 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>