Using language to influence food attractiveness.

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The severe world-wide problem of obesity is largely due to diet. This study aimed to analyse the effect of language on the perception of hedonic and utilitarian foods. Previous studies have shown that hedonic foods are often described with sensory words that describe the process of eating the food, which in turn enables eating simulations. Eating simulations is a process were one imagines the experience of eating food, which increases the desire for food. Utilitarian foods however, are more often described with words about health. These descriptions have been shown to reduce the desire of a certain food. When focussing on the outcome of eating a particular food, it has been found that utilitarian foods are the preferred pick. In a questionnaire, students were asked to rate the expected tastiness, desire, and purchase intention of different food products. These food products had their packaging manipulated to include neutral, indulgent and outcome-simulation based language. The results show that although there was no differences were found between the description types, hedonic products were preferred over utilitarian products no matter what language was used. These results confirm the theory that hedonic products are preferred over, and seen as tastier than utilitarian products. Furthermore, it forms an argument against the claim that outcome-simulation based language is linked with utilitarian products when compared with hedonic products.
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