I received some information on behalf of Dr. Wansink. Dr. Wansink, an expert in the psychology of food, a supportive of Unilever Food Solutions “Seductive Nutrition” approach, a man helping industry professionals, restaurant operators, home cooks, bloggers like me and my readers learn how quick, easy meal changes (dining in a restaurant or at home) can make a positive impact on how people eat, and ultimately, how they live.
One way to give your food a Seductive Nutrition is in the looks and presentation.
This past year I’ve been learning how to make my food photography look better. I would even say that my Candy Apple recipe looks seductive in nature. I’ve been also learning how to stage a photo. A lot of photos look a lot better when you add a placemat and some items in the background.
“Seductive Nutrition” can speak to the holistic dining experience. Nice dinnerware, soft lighting and a matching tablecloth can help enhance a person’s dining expectations and is something to keep in mind for your next dinner party. In my research, we found people rated the taste of a brownie much higher when it was served on a nice dinner plate than on a cheap plastic plate.
I also took this photo of Sloppy Joes and with the items in the background and how the plate is nice it doesn’t look like you’re looking at a plate of meat and tomatoes, but really you are.
So it’s one thing to have your food call out to someone by looks but it’s another to also have a seductive nutrition right? It’s something I’ve never even considered. I thought it was all in the looks not the ingredients. “Seductive Nutrition” is applicable in both restaurant and kitchen settings. All it takes is a few simple changes to make it both nutritious and delicious sometimes it’s just in the words.
Creating a menu at home can make your dinner party seem fancy and seductive.
Incorporating vivid adjectives can trigger people’s meal expectations. In our analysis of more than 1,000 descriptively-named menu items, we found three key ways for foods to be “seductively” named:
o Geographic Labels: Use words to create an image or illicit the ideology of a geographic area that diners can associate with foods. Examples include Southwestern Tex-Mex Salad; homegrown Iowa Pork Chops; “Real” Carolina Barbeque Sauce; or Country Peach Tart.
o Nostalgic Labels: Alluding to your customers’ past can trigger happy associations of family, tradition, national origin and a sense of wholesomeness. Use these fond associations to create appealing names, like Old-World Italian Manicotti; Grandma’s Best Banana Cream Pie; or Green Gables Matzo Ball Soup.
o Sensory Labels: Describing the taste, smell and texture of menu items served can help set customer dining expectations. Dessert chefs accomplish this masterfully; example menu names include Velvet Chocolate Mousse; Silky-Smooth Pumpkin Pie; or Warm Apple Crisp. Sensory labels apply to all meal courses, such as Hearty, Sizzling Steaks; Snappy-fresh Seasonal Carrots; or Garlic butter-infused Chicken Kiev.
I’ve really noticed a very strong push especially in our area to eat healthier. Some people are eating green, some people are eating clean, and some people like me are just doing the best we can with our diets. Here just by telling people what they are eating with fancy adjectives you can make the food sound so much better than describing how healthy it is. I know in my mind I just think that healthy food should not taste good. So if you offered me a lowfat yogurt parfait as my desert I might want to pass but if you said you were going to give me a “silken yogurt parfait” I may say yes please. It’s through changing the adjectives that Dr. Wansink says food sales and interest will go up.
Using words like creamy, hot, or spicy on a menu board have been shown to help increase food sales in restaurants by up to 28 percent; and, in one of our studies, we found it led people to view restaurants as more “trendy and up-to-date.”
I received compensation for this post as part of a sponsored opportunity from the Mom It Forward blogger network for Unilever Food Solutions. All ideas, images (unless otherwise credited), and opinions are my own.