Art on the plate: Effect of balance and color on attractiveness of, willingness to try and liking for food

Debra A. Zellner, Mia Lankford, Lisa Ambrose, Paul Locher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

52 Scopus citations


The study investigated whether balance and complexity (increased by the addition of color) in the presentation of food on a plate affect the attractiveness of the presentation much as those factors affect the attractiveness of works of art. In addition, the willingness to try the food and liking for the food in four presentations (monochrome-balanced, colored-balanced, monochrome-unbalanced, and colored-unbalanced) combining these two variables was measured. While color increased the attractiveness of the balanced presentation it did not increase the attractiveness of the unbalanced one. Subjects were more willing to try the monochrome than colored presentations. There was no effect of color or balance on liking for the flavor of the food. So, while manipulating color and balance in a food presentation affects its attractiveness, it does not alter how much one likes the flavor of the food.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-578
Number of pages4
JournalFood Quality and Preference
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2010



  • Aesthetics
  • Balance
  • Complexity
  • Hedonics

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