You know how the anticipation of something supremely tasty can make your mouth water, and your tummy rumble? Turns out just imagining the taste, smell and texture of food or drink can actually make us choose smaller portions. Science – we love you!
Researchers enlisted almost 1,000 French and American adults and children to take part in this delicious study (which involved chocolate cake), and they discovered that anticipating how much we’re going to enjoy food helps us feel happy with a smaller portion.
“We found that by asking people to imagine how a menu item might taste, smell and feel, they anticipated greater enjoyment and were willing to pay more for a smaller portion,” study lead author, UBC Sauder School of Business’ Yann Cornil said.
“That’s because their food choices were made based on sensory pleasure, which peaks with smaller portions, rather than on hunger or value for money.”
Unhealthy portion sizes
“Typically, health warnings or nutritional labels are used to encourage people to order smaller portions, but they tend to turn people off altogether,” said Assistant Professor Cornil.
“We found that imagining the taste, smell and texture of food can achieve a better balance between consumer enjoyment, business goals and public health.”
The findings aren’t just important for individuals, but the food industry is being urged to look at having more descriptive menus, and smaller meal sizes. If your mouth is now watering, make sure you check out our delicious and healthy dessert recipes!