People Think Expensive Food Tastes Better than Cheaper Food

July 14, 2014

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. diner /ˈdaɪ nər/ (n.) – a person who eats in a restaurant
Example: The restaurant gives free coffee to their first three diners.

2. buffet /bəˈfeɪ/ (n.) – food placed in a particular area in a restaurant where diners serve themselves
Example: The boss treated his employees in a buffet.

3. remarkably /rɪˈmɑr kəbli/ (adv.) – surprisingly or unexpectedly
Example: The food in the new Mexican restaurant is remarkably cheap.

4. perception /pərˈsɛp ʃən/ (n.) – the understanding or the viewpoint on a particular topic
Example: Her perception on healthy food is different from her mothers’ viewpoint.

5. ambience /ˈæm bi əns/ (n.) – the feeling or the atmosphere of a place
Example: People eat in that restaurant because of the good ambience.


Read the text below.
Scientists from Cornell [kawr-NEL] University have proven that people think food tastes better when it is more expensive.

The researchers conducted the study by involving 139 diners in an eat-all-you-can Italian buffet in New York City. The team offered the same kind and quantity of food to all the participants. Each plate was priced at either $4 or $8.

Researchers asked the diners to evaluate the food they ate and the quality of the restaurant’s service. The experiment showed that those who paid for $8 have 11 percent higher satisfaction rate than those who paid for only $4. Remarkably, those who paid for $4 felt guiltier and fuller after the meal.

Brian Wansink, professor of consumer behavior at Cornell University, was quite fascinated with how pricing can have little effect on a person’s eating habits and still have a large impact on one’s dining experience. Scientists assume that people tend to associate high cost with quality food and cheap price with less quality food. This perception affects how a person enjoys the food and the overall experience.

Another study also revealed that lighting affects a person’s eating behavior. People who eat in restaurants with dim lighting consume 175 less calories than those who eat in brightly lit places. Still, they think the food tastes better. Experts believe that the ambience at a dimly lit meal is related to a relaxed and slow-eating experience. Thus, the diners feel better and more satisfied when leaving the restaurant.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you agree that expensive food tastes better than the cheaper alternatives? Explain your answer.
·         Do you agree that lighting in a restaurant affects the mood of the diners? Explain your answer.

Discussion B

·         What kind of food is considered expensive in your country?
·         Are you willing to spend more money on good food? Why or why not?

July 14, 2014