Yamini Walia tells you about a recent study, conducted by Cornell University, that found out why people think that a meal tastes better when it’s expensive
Have you ever wondered why expensive food tastes so much better? It doesn’t always boil down to being because the food is better quality.! According to a recent study by the scientists at Cornell University in New York, people enjoy expensive food more than cheaper food, purely because of its price.
The scientists at the university studied the eating habits of 139 people enjoying an Italian buffet in an up-state restaurant. The price of the food was set by the researchers at either $4 (Rs 240) or $8 (Rs 480) for the all-you-can-eat meal. The customers were then asked to rate the taste of the food and the quality of the restaurant.
The experiment revealed that the people who paid $8 (Rs 480) for the food enjoyed their meal 11% more than those who ate the cheaper buffet and surprisingly, those who paid for the $4 (Rs 240) buffet said that they felt guiltier about filing up their plates, thinking that they over ate. However, the scientists explained that both groups actually ate the same amount of food.
Researcher, Ozge Sigirci, explained at the Experimental Biology Meeting, “If the food is on the plate, you are going to eat it, but the pricing affects how you are going to feel about your meal and how you will evaluate the restaurant.”
The researchers found that a price cut can actually affect the reputation of a restaurant, as people tend to associate the quality of the food with the price of the meals. So, a lower price implies lower quality and a higher price implies better quality in the consumer’s minds. Not just this, the consumers also feel that their meal is less worthwhile, if it’s less expensive.
The results also apply to the consumption of wine, as people prefer to buy expensive wine and appreciate it more than the cheaper option on the menu. So, you now know why so many restaurants mark up the price of their second cheapest wine!