From: University of Surrey
Published October 30, 2017 11:56 AM

Food Should be Marketed as a 'Meal' Rather Than a 'Snack' to Avoid Overeating

In the first ever study of its kind, Professor Jane Ogden and her researchers from the University of Surrey examined the impact of labelling food products as ‘snacks’ or ‘meals’. 

During this innovative investigation, eighty participants were asked to eat a pasta pot which was either labelled as a ‘snack’ or a ‘meal.’ Each pot was presented as a ‘snack’ (eaten standing up from a plastic pot with a plastic fork) or a ‘meal’ (seated at a table from a ceramic plate and metal fork).  Once consumed, participants were invited to take part in an additional taste test of different foods (animal biscuits, hula hoops, M&M’s and mini cheddars.)

Researchers found that those who had eaten pasta labelled as a ‘snack’ ate more at the taste test then when it had been labelled as a ‘meal.’ It was also found that those who ate the ‘snack’ standing up consumed more (50 per cent more total mass, sweet mass and total calories and 100 per cent more M&M’s) than those who had eaten the pasta sitting down at a table. 

This unique set of results demonstrate that when a food is labelled as a snack rather than a meal consumption is higher, particularly when standing rather than sitting. Researchers have attributed this to a combination of factors and believe that when eating a snack we are more easily distracted and may not be conscious of consumption. They also argue that memories for snacks and meals may be encoded differently in our subconscious and that we are unable to recall what we have eaten as a ‘snack.’

Read more at University of Surrey

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