You Eat What You Are
A Dutch university has set up a cafeteria/laboratory crammed with cameras and other monitoring devices to learn what influences the food choices people make:
Does it matter if the cheese slices are wrapped in plastic? If the bread is presented as a loaf or sliced up? Whether the salad is on a red table or a blue one? Whether the soft drinks are by the entrance or by the checkout? Or where they stand in relation to fresh juices?
The $4.5 million Restaurant of the Future is run by scientists of Wageningen University and Research Center, working with Sodexo, an international catering firm, and the Noldus software company, to answer questions from the food industry and behaviorists.
“We think of ourselves as rational beings, always making the best choice,” says Rene Koster, director of the Restaurant of the Future Foundation. But that’s not true; 80 percent of our decisions are made subconsciously, he said, citing U.S. studies.
Although the article doesn’t mention it, I would hope the researchers are also experimenting with calorie counts — to see how influential it is to list a food’s calorie count and how long that effect lasts (as we’ve wondered ourselves here and here).