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It’s all about the name
So what is going on here? What is the takeaway from all this? Why are some dishes selling far more than others when they are all the same?
Well, the findings of this study appear to support preexisting evidence that how food is presented or named can make it more appealing to consumers. Look at the case of prunes for instance. For many decades, dried plums were called prunes, and had a fairly dedicated following but were not a hugely popular snack the way that say, potato chips are. Then some companies came up with the idea of re-branding prunes as “dried plums” to see if this would make them more appealing to shoppers. It began in 2000 when the California Prune Board (yes, that is a real thing) decided to rename prunes “dried plums” in hopes of appealing to a younger market. Interestingly, sales went up. This same technique worked when the Chinese Gooseberry was rebranded as the “kiwifruit”. If the name sounds more palatable, people are more likely to buy it.
But what about applying this to actual dishes in a restaurant or cafeteria setting? Recipes and items on menus are often given more flowery and descriptive names, and this is where the same principle applies. Giving the item a more appealing or “tantalizing” name will make customers more likely to order it.
This opens an opportunity for nutritionists, public health advocates, health writers, and chefs to all be more creative with their naming of foods. If they can give healthy dishes more appealing names, it can persuade even the most stubborn of eaters to make better choices with regard to their diets.
Try coming up with some funny or clever names for healthy snacks for your kids. Don’t be surprised if they don’t start craving healthier foods from now on.