Dietary variety increases food intake, but it is unclear if sensory differences elicit increases in eating-related behaviors. Using a 4×3 between-subject pilot experiment, we examined if increasing sensory variety (control, color, shape, both color and shape) and priming individuals to notice differences or similarities in the foods (positive, neutral, negative) influenced ad libitum proximal intake, liking, and willingness to purchase pears and peppers among 164 Greater Boston adults >18y/o. MANOVA was used to examine associations between sensory variety (independent variable) and six dependent measures. We tested for interactions between sensory variety condition and individual-level factors that may influence food intake. There was no main effect of sensory variety condition for any dependent measure. However, interactions between sensory variety condition and age, overweight status, and prime were detected. Adults with overweight (vs. adults of normal weight) ate more pear with color variety (7.2 vs. 4.4oz, p=0.01). Pear intake was also higher among adults with overweight in the color variety (7.2oz) vs. combination variety (4.4oz) condition. Adults ≥36y/o ate more peppers (3.5oz) in the color variety condition versus other conditions (2.1–2.2oz, p=0.04). Participants primed to notice differences were more willing to purchase pears in the color variety (5.0±0.5) versus control (3.7±0.5) condition. Color variety may modestly increase proximal intake, liking, and purchase intentions for fruits and vegetables in some subsets of adults. Our preliminary findings encourage more research to determine if color variety can be used to improve diet quality of targeted populations.
Vadiveloo, Maya, Ludovica Principato, Christina Roberto, Vicki Morwitz, and Josiemer Mattei. "Sensory Variety in Shape and Color Influences Fruit and Vegetable Intake, Liking, and Purchase Intentions in Some Subsets of Adults: A Randomized Pilot Experiment." Food Quality and Preference 71 (January 2019): 301-310.
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