Washington: A new study has demonstrated how food producers can change the surface textures of food products for changing the perception of people and for promoting healthy eating.
The study conducted by researchers of Anglia Ruskin University was published in the journal – Food Quality.
Researchers investigated the perceptions of 88 people about identical oat biscuits in six different textures. They asked them to rate the biscuits on taste, healthiness, pleasantness, crunchiness, chewiness and the likelihood of purchase on the basis of only their visual appearance, and not on their taste or touch.
The new study looked at how a food product can be perceived differently depending on its appearance.
It found that the surface texture of the biscuits communicated to people about how healthy it was and participants viewed the biscuits having explicit or pronounced texture as healthy.
“The findings are really exciting as they give food manufacturers a means to design foods that can help consumers make healthier choices. A sweet item, such as a biscuit, benefits from having an appearance as being less healthy as that increases the perception of tastiness and increases the likelihood of purchase,” said the lead researcher, Dr Jansson-Boyd
“To guide healthier purchasing decisions, food producers can, therefore, look to use non-healthy looking, smoother textures to overcome this perception that healthy is not tasty,” Boyd added.
Biscuits having less explicit texture were perceived to be crunchier, tastier and were more likely for people to purchase them.
The study later concluded that the perceived tastiness of the food increases with the decrease of the healthiness as well as the likelihood of purchasing the biscuit increases with the lowering of perceived healthiness.
This has implications for producers of many different food types.