Researchers at the University of Portsmouth have found that the color of the bowl in which food is served influences the perception of taste in picky eaters.
The experiment gathered almost 50 people to measure their food neophobia (fear or reluctance to try new or unknown foods). The participants, who were divided into picky eaters and non-picky eaters, tried the same snacks served in red, white, and blue bowls. The results revealed that both the saltiness and the desire for food were influenced only in the picky eater group. Specifically, snacks were perceived to be saltier in the red or blue bowl than in the white bowl, and less desirable in the red bowl.
The report, published in the Food Quality and Preference journal, opens the door for further research to help picky eaters expand their food diet. According to Dr. Lorenzo Stafford, from the University’s Department of Psychology, “having restricted diets can lead to nutritional deficiencies as well as health problems like heart disease, poor bone health, and dental issues”. With this finding, “if you wanted to encourage a picky eater to try more vegetables well known to be viewed as bitter, you could attempt to serve them on a plate or bowl that is known to increase sweetness. Through further research we could determine ways to help positively affect a person’s diet, and as a result their mental and physical health.”