The Power of Suggestion: Do Descriptive Labels Influence Taste Perceptions, Calorie-Estimation and Satiety?
Wansink, Brian, Koert van Ittersum, and James E. Painter (2004), “How Diet and Health Labels Influence Taste and Satiation,” Journal of Food Science, 69:9 (Nov-Dec), S340-S346.
25 Pages Posted: 13 Jan 2016 Last revised: 28 Apr 2017
Date Written: May 14, 2003
Can a dietitian, restaurateur, marketer, or parent change the taste of a food simply by changing its name? In a six-week field experiment involving 140 customers, descriptive menu labels (such as “succulent Italian seafood filet” or “Grandma’s zucchini cookies”) influenced the post-consumption taste ratings of entrées and desserts and also influenced people’s attitudes toward the food and the restaurant where they ate it. The antecedents and consequences of these differences are then explained. The use of descriptive labels may help improve perceptions of foods in institutional settings, and it may help facilitate the introduction of unfamiliar foods such as those containing soy.
Keywords: Labeling, taste, sensory experience, suggestibility, descriptive labels, food perception, consumer behavior, consumer research, food selection, marketing
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