Does food “made with love” really taste better?
Have you ever wondered why you’ve never been able to find pot roast as good as your mom makes or why no one’s cherry pie tastes as good as Grandma’s? Of course, a great recipe has a lot to do with it, but so does something else that’s not included in the traditional list of ingredients—love. A recent study has shown that food we perceive to have been made with love tastes better.
Sponsored by frozen foods manufacturer, Bird’s Eye, the study examined two groups of people who were served an identical Christmas dinner but in very different settings. The first group ate their dinner in a festive, decorated atmosphere and were told that the meal was lovingly, and painstakingly prepared by a team of chefs from traditional family recipes, handed down for generations. The second group was served their meal in a sparsely decorated room with little effort to welcome them and no explanation of the history behind the dinner recipes. Afterwards, participants were asked to rate the flavor, taste, and perceived preparation effort of the meal. Results showed that more people in the first group believed their meal tasted better (4.3/5) versus those of the second group (3.4/5) and that overall, 58% of people enjoy food more when they perceive it’s been prepared with a certain amount of time, attention, and love.
Researcher, Dr. Christy Fergusson stated, “We set out to prove that food made with love tastes better and demonstrate how the power of intention impacts people’s perception of food enjoyment…The results confirm that our emotional perception of taste can be enhanced or diminished by the amount of time, love and care that goes into meals, which ultimately can increase our enjoyment of food.”
No matter what we’re receiving from someone else, whether it’s a home cooked meal, medical care or help with a particular task, research shows that our experience of that service is directly affected by our perception of the person providing it. In a University of Maryland study, patients reported less pain when having their blood drawn by a compassionate nurse when compared to an indifferent one. Participants who received help from family and friends with a moving task were more comforted when the help was offered in a joyful way rather than from a sense of obligation. In another phase of the study, participants said a sweet treat tasted better when told it was prepared with attention to detail and love.
No matter what it is, whenever we put our love into what we create or do, it will always be perceived as better by those receiving it. Of course, food companies know this. That’s probably why they always pair their products with smiling mothers and cheerful grandfathers in advertisements. It’s the perceived kindness from these images that helps us enjoy the products more and turns us into loyal customers.
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