Why Does YOUR Food Taste Better?

The Lempert Report
December 07, 2016

New research answers the question why we think our own food tastes better than others.

How often have you caught yourself, at a restaurant, or even friends home thinking, or saying, how much better the food you prepare at home tastes better? You are not alone, many of us do. And an article in the Wall St. Journal tells us why.

Simone Dohle of the University of Cologne led a group of European researchers to answer just that question and published their findings in Health Psychology to reach their findings, the researchers enlisted 120 women, mostly German students, to taste two very different shakes.  

Half of the participants tasted a low-calorie smoothie made from raspberries, milk and sugar. Some measured and blended it themselves, while others tasted one the researchers made ahead of time. 

Those who had to mix their own rated the raspberry smoothie higher on a scale from “do not like at all” to “like very much” than those who drank it pre-made. They also estimated that it was healthier and had fewer calories. 

Their taste tests showed that when it comes to healthy food, people like their own preparation better than the same recipe ready-made. “The mere act of preparing foods leads to higher likings because people overvalue objects that they have put effort in,” according the findings. 

The also found that the preference for self-made meals changes when the food is unhealthy. We like our own concoction less when we know ingredients like fat and sugar went into it, according to the study. Those who made the unhealthy  milkshake on their own rated it worse than those who drank the prepared version—evidence that people are turned off when they know exactly how much in the way of unhealthy ingredients is in their food, the researchers wrote.

Topline: when people cook (not assemble) at home, they are more likely to lean toward healthier recipes.