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
Date Written: August 28, 2001
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
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