Good news for veggies: Personal values deceive taste buds

Jul 17, 2008

Many heavy meat eaters believe they eat a lot of meat because of the taste. But according to groundbreaking new research in the Journal of Consumer Research, the reason that a beef burger tastes better than a veggie burger to some people has more to do with values than actual taste.

Authors Michael W. Allen (University of Sydney), Richa Gupta (University of Nashville), and Arnaud Monnier (National Engineer School for Food Industries and Management, France) conducted a series of studies that examined the symbolic meaning of foods and beverages. They found that when it came to tasting meat or soft drinks, what influenced participants was what they thought they had eaten rather than what they actually ate.

The authors note that meat has an association with social power, and people who scored high in the authors' Social Power Value Endorsement measure believed that a meat-containing item tasted better than a vegetarian alternative, even when both products were actually identical (one was mis-represented). Similarly, participants who supported the values symbolized by Pepsi (Exciting Life, Social Power, and Recognition) gave a more favorable rating to the product they thought was Pepsi—even though they were drinking the low-price Woolworth cola.

Participants were told that they would taste either a beef sausage roll or a vegetarian alternative roll, and that they would drink either a Pepsi or a Woolworth Homebrand cola. Some received the item they were told they would receive and some were given the similar-tasting item. Then they filled out a questionnaire about values and taste, along with their current food and soft drink consumption.

Source: University of Chicago

Explore further: When it comes to how pizza looks, cheese matters

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

More CO2 also means less nutritious food

Jun 06, 2014

Rice, maize, soybeans and wheat are the main source of nutrients for over 2 billion people living in poor countries. But with climate change and the rising amount of CO2 in the air we breathe, their already low nutrient value ...

Meat appeal high on lamb producer list

Mar 10, 2014

Consumers' want for visually appealing meat, and the genetic science behind producing such a trait has been explored in a recent summary paper which described key industry findings on the quality of Australian ...

Personal and social concerns motivate organic food buyers

Oct 21, 2013

Predicting whether consumers will purchase organic or conventional food is a multimillion dollar gamble within the food sector. A novel paper by Washington State University College of Business researchers will help advertisers ...

Different forage affects beef cattle weight, taste

Sep 18, 2013

Cattle are what they eat. The forage—grasses and other plants—beef cattle eat affects the nutrition and tastiness of the meat. Clemson University animal science researchers report that steers grazing ...

Five edible insects you really should try

Sep 04, 2013

Edible insects are great alternatives to conventional sources of meat as they're cheap, plentiful and excellent sources of protein and fat, as well as vitamins and minerals.

Recommended for you

When it comes to how pizza looks, cheese matters

Aug 21, 2014

Most consumers have an idea what they want their pizza slice to look like. Golden cheese with that dark toasted-cheese color scattered in distinct blistery patches across the surface with a bit of oil glistening in the valleys. ...

Freedom and responsibility of science

Aug 21, 2014

Yesterday, the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Leopoldina National Academy of Sciences presented their recommendations for "The Freedom and Responsibility of Science" in Berlin. Both research organizations appeal ...

What I learned from debating science with trolls

Aug 20, 2014

I often like to discuss science online and I'm also rather partial to topics that promote lively discussion, such as climate change, crime statistics and (perhaps surprisingly) the big bang. This inevitably ...

Activists urge EU to scrap science advisor job

Aug 19, 2014

Nine major charities urged the European Commission on Tuesday to scrap a science advisor position it says puts too much power over sensitive policy into the hands of one person.

User comments : 0