The study enrolled 197 Dutch 17-25 year-olds, and was performed in 5 college lunch cafeterias, in which 4 new, recently launched but unbranded products were introduced: Low fat bread spread, low fat cheese, fruit juice and a fruit and veggie juice. For the experimental group, bite- or sip-sizes samples were placed in front of the new product. The cheese and low fat margarine were spread on a small piece of bread. A sign indicated these were free samples. The control group was not exposed to samples. For both the control and the experimental groups, the buffet products were identified by name, but nutritional information, such as caloric content, wasn’t mentioned. Samples did drive choice of the new products. In fact, the new offered food was selected instead of the traditional full fat offering 15 percent more often when a sample was tried.
As Malcolm Gladwell noted in his assessment of the Pepsi challenge, just because you enjoyed something in a sample doesn’t make you like it in large quantities. It seems the takeaway here is that you can 1) become more interested in a particular food by sampling them, and 2) will enjoy those foods more by continuing to eat them in smaller portions.
For suggestions on how to work food sampling into your daily meals, be sure to check out Dr. Ayala’s blog.
Sampling our way into healthy eating [Ayala's Herbal Water Weblog]