The Power of Words Changes Eating Behavior

Restaurant Food Marketing Picture
a small pad thai please..??

The Power of Words to Influence Behavior

Ever wonder why a medium soda at Jack in the box soda is a size of a tub and why Starbucks insists calling it’s small drink a tall?

Well here is something to chew on. A new study from the Cornell Food Brand Lab found that simply calling the same portion of spaghetti “double-size” caused the diners to eat considerably less. The group thinking they were eating double-sized meals left 10x as much food leftover. Yes, just the IDEA that they were eating a large portion made them eat less! (Some diet strategy gem is here somewhere…)

Words, especially those found in advertising, can be powerful in shaping our behavior. Another finding showed that drinkers who thought the wine they were given was expensive, thought that it tasted better then when they thought it was inexpensive.

Whether in advertising, branding, or simply creating product names, words can be a powerful influencer of consumer behavior. You may be eating more simply because the portion is described as “small”. Another way this manifests itself in the restaurant world, is the increasingly high price tag coupled with the ridiculous large portions that should feed a small family. Yet marketers know, if they can set the expectation, then people would come to think it is normal to expect large quantities and eat larger portions.

  • Know of any “odd” product size names?
  • ¬†Does a “tall” instead of a “small” at starbucks make you feel you are getting more for your money?
  • Can anyone guess where that picture of pad thai is from?

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1 Comment

  1. Yea! I quite agree with you, when you present something to people the way you want it, it gets to be part of their sub-concious mind.

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