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Does viewing images of food frozen in motion lead to improved evaluations of both food freshness and appeal? This study investigated a possible rationale for the common use of depictions of food in motion on packaging and in marketing campaigns.
We investigated the impact of implied motion on food evaluations in two separate studies. In the first, 105 participants were each shown two pictures of orange juice in a random order. One picture displayed the juice being poured into a glass while the other picture displayed still juice. After viewing each picture, participants rated the appeal of the orange juice on a scale of 1 to 9. The juice in motion was rated as more appealing than the still juice.
Second we assessed the hypothesis that the increase in appeal for in motion foods is linked to perceived freshness. In this study, 58 participants performed the same exact tasks as the participants in the first study. Then, these participants answered an additional question asking them to rate the freshness of the orange juice on a scale of 1 to 9. Again, participants rated the juice in motion as more appealing and they also rated it as fresher than the still juice. Further mediation analysis concluded that seeing the juice in motion led the participants to perceive the orange juice as fresher, and this increase in assessed freshness caused participants to rate the juice in motion as more appealing than the still juice.
The findings of these two studies indicate that, when viewing images of food with implied motion, ratings of perceived freshness and appeal are higher than when viewing images of food still. Thus, seeing food in motion may elevate the perceived quality of the food. These findings, published in Food Quality and Preference, suggest that marketers can use pictures of food displayed in motion to encourage healthier food choices.
Gvili, Yaniv, Aner Tal, Monty Amar, Yeal Hallak, Brian Wansink, Michael Giblin, Colombe Bommelaer (2015). Fresh from the tree: Implied motion improves food evaluation. Food Quality and Preference, 46, 160-165. doi:10.1016/j.foodqual.2015.07.015