A recent study done by the Cornell University has given us even more insight into what factors influence our food preferences and choices. While we tend to see taste as being the primary reason why we choose the foods we choose, taste is just one of many factors.
The Cornell study found that preschoolers ate more vegetables if they were labeled with a fun-sounding name. For example, the participants ate almost twice as many carrots named “X-ray Vision Carrots” than regularly named carrots. Not only that, but they continued to eat more carrots even after they stopped being labeled with the new name! We know that adults are also influenced by more than taste as well… smell, visual appeal, texture, cost, preferences of family and friends, religion, customs, knowledge about food, upbringing and even genetics all play a roll. And while names like: “Super Strength Spinach” or “Robot Beets” may not appeal as much to the adult crowd, we do know that adults are more likely to select a food item on a menu if it has an appealing name or description.
So what does this knowledge tell us about healthy eating? Well, for one, we now know how we can get kids to eat nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables. But for adults, it might be more important to consider why we occasionally choose those less healthy foods that we wish we wouldn’t. Consider what types of marketing tactics are being used to make you want to choose that food. Once you see through the clever advertising, eye-catching packaging, and appealing descriptors, maybe you can talk yourself back into going for those poorly advertised but delicious carrots again!
Reference: Cornell Food & Brand Lab (2009, March 4). Eat Your Vegetables: Preschoolers Love Vegetables With Catchy Names Like ‘X-Ray Vision Carrots’ And ‘Tomato Bursts’. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2009, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2009/03/090302120019.htm