Taste rituals examined

Rituals for taste. The 'Change One Thing" Food Truck. Coke goes green!!

August 22, 2013 Video not working?

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Do rituals make your food taste better? According to a new study published in the journal "Psychological Science", the answer is YES! Researchers conducted four experiments to examine just how rituals influence our perception of how food tastes.  For example, volunteers were asked to break a chocolate bar in half, unwrap one half, eat the unwrapped half, unwrap the other half and then eat that half. Other participants ate the same chocolate bar however they liked. The researchers found the ritualistic eaters rated the chocolate higher, savored it more, and were willing to pay more for it than the other group, suggesting a short, made-up ritual provokes a change in perception.

In the second experiment, using chocolate again, volunteers performed random actions instead of ritualized actions. But, these random gestures did not change perception of the chocolate. The second experiment also showed delayed eating of food, even less appealing food like carrots, increased gratification after eating it. The final two experiments suggested an individual must be personally involved in the ritual to increase perceptions – watching someone else perform a ritual doesn’t any have any effect.  For these researchers, looking in to ritualized behavior will not stop at food. Next they are hoping to get patients to perform rituals before a surgery to then measure their pain post-operatively and how fast they heal! 

Interesting…what ritualized behaviors do you have? Do you have mealtime rituals?  Sports Rituals? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter, or better yet, send us a video and we'll share it on the show!


 For the kids in the Bronx, NY, this summer, there was something other than Mr Softee appealing to tastebuds.  The "Change One Thing" food truck has been driving around city streets offering healthy and nutritious snack options to encourage better food choices for kids. For example, sunflower seeds, dried fruit, bottled water, even healthy recipes! The truck, sponsored by the Food Bank of New York City, advocates the simple idea that you don't have to overhaul your whole diet immediately, it can be as easy as swapping out one unhealthy snack for a healthy one. Instead of a glass of soda, have a glass of water, instead of reaching for a slice of pizza pick up an orange. Small changes can make a big difference. The food truck is actually in it's second year, and will be around until Sept 2nd, and then hopefully back for many summers to come.


And speaking of changing one thing, if you happen to be in Argentina this summer and reaching for a coke, you may have noticed some green labels. Green? That's right! Coca Cola is trying out "Coca-Cola Life". It's meant to be natural, which we all know in the marketing world, now means 'green", so we get green coke. What makes it natural you ask? Coca-Cola Life is sweetened with a mix of sugar and stevia , an extract from a shrub in the chrysanthemum family, which you would have seen here in the US in packets under names like Truvia.  Stevia is claimed to be 400 times sweeter than table sugar, without the calories. So, I guess Coca-Cola Life will taste sweeter, but better for you? The "green" aspect of this drink, does actually go a little deeper than just a color, apparently the coke is sold in a "PlantBottle" made of a plastic that's 30 percent vegetable fiber, which means it's 100 percent recyclable. So….we'll wait and see if it ever arrives on US shores.  If it's a hit in Argentina we should see it soon, if not, we won't… 

That’s all for this week’s edition of Food News Today. Don’t forget to check out our website at SupermarketGuru dot com or send us a message on Facebook and twitter!
Food News Today is sponsored by Con Agra Foods, who shares with me the desire to provide the most current, interesting and unbiased food news. Thanks for tuning in and see you next week!

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