Think you'd like the food on your plate more if it was moving? Off-hand, your mind might go to images of worms and other small critters - an unappealing proposition. But a new study by researchers Yaniv Gvili, Moty Amar, and Yael Hallak from Ono Academic College in Israel, researchers Aner Tal and Brian Wansink from the Cornell Food and Brand Lab, and Michael Giblin from the University of Florida, provides rationale for the common use of depictions of food in motion on packaging and in marketing campaigns. The researchers found that, "seeing your food moving makes it seem fresher, and consequently more appealing," explains co-author Aner Tal, PhD, "We're hard-wired to be attracted to motion, so moving objects not only capture our attention but look more appealing."
The researchers investigated the impact of implied motion on food evaluations in two separate studies. First, they showed 105 participants two pictures of orange juice. The pictures were similar, except one picture displayed the juice being poured into a glass, while the other picture displayed still juice. The juice shown in motion was rated by participants as significantly more appealing. The researchers then asked a second group of 58 people to rate the freshness of the juice depicted in the same images. The image of the juice being poured was rated as significantly fresher than the still juice. Analysis revealed that the perceived freshness of the poured orange juice was responsible for the higher appeal ratings.
The findings of these two studies indicate that foods and beverages depicted in implied motion are more appealing to consumers than still foods. Seeing food in motion may elevate the perceived quality of the food, potentially elevating consumption experience. This research, published in Food Quality and Preference, suggests that marketers can use pictures of food displayed in motion to encourage healthier food choices, making the foods appear fresher and more appealing.