With equivalent preparation, a vegetable dish will be much more attractive if the name of the recipe emphasizes taste and pleasure, rather than the health benefits.
Here is an experience that could give ideas on a daily basis, and why not help to encourage children unwilling to eat their portion of vegetables.
For six months, an American team (Stanford University) carried out tests in five university restaurants spread across the United States. The trials covered around thirty types of vegetables, with a total of some 138,000 individual choices. The intention was to determine whether the recipe name could influence the decision to eat a vegetable dish rather than a less healthy preparation, as well as the total consumption of vegetables. What do we see?
• When the preparation (identical recipe) refers to taste, pleasure and sophistication (“twisted carrots glazed with citrus fruits, for example), this increases by 29% the decision to choose it compared to a name labeled health ("low in fat" …), and 14% compared to a neutral name ("carrot salad" …).
• The effect is all the more marked (and repetitive) that the recipe is tasty.
• Appellations based on superlatives (“awesome”…), funny or fanciful terms, or the simple list of ingredients, are largely surpassed by the reference to taste and pleasure.
• And just as important: by examining the leftovers, the researchers find that the “pleasure labels” encourage people to eat more, in the order of 39% more vegetables.
The authors explain: "These results indicate that emphasizing their taste and pleasant character increases the consumption of vegetables in a context where they compete with less healthy options".
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