Do Descriptive Menu Labels Bias a Person's Taste?

Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administrative Quarterly, 42:6 (December 2001), 68-72

8 Pages Posted: 16 Jan 2016 Last revised: 29 Apr 2017

See all articles by Brian Wansink

Brian Wansink

Cornell University

James Painter

Eastern Illinois University

Koert van Ittersum

University of Groningen

Date Written: August 28, 2001

Abstract

Can a dietician change the taste of a food by changing its name? While research on labeling has focused on nutritional labels, health labels, and warning labels, little has examined how descriptive menu labels influence perceptions toward foods. Descriptive labels might add a positive halo to a food, or they might unfairly raise expectations that lead to disappointment. In either case, institutional dieticians and consumers should both be aware of the impact of these labels.

This article examines how descriptive labels influence post-consumption evaluations of a food. After providing a brief theoretical overview of the mechanism underlying the effect of descriptive labels, exploratory hypotheses are formulated and tested in a six-week field study of six menu items involving 140 adults. Implications are then provided for dieticians who control menu content and design in either institutional or in private settings.

Keywords: Descriptive Menu Labels, subjective taste assessment, calorie estimation

Suggested Citation

Wansink, Brian and Painter, James and van Ittersum, Koert, Do Descriptive Menu Labels Bias a Person's Taste? (August 28, 2001). Cornell Hotel and Restaurant Administrative Quarterly, 42:6 (December 2001), 68-72. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2715068

Brian Wansink (Contact Author)

Cornell University ( email )

Ithaca, NY 14853
United States

James Painter

Eastern Illinois University ( email )

Charleston, IL 61920-3099
United States
217-581-6677 (Phone)
217-581-6090 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://castle.eiu.edu/~jpainter/

Koert Van Ittersum

University of Groningen ( email )

Postbus 72
9700 AB Groningen
Netherlands

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