Neatness counts. How plating affects liking for the taste of food

Debra Zellner, Evan Siemers, Vincenzo Teran, Rebecca Conroy, Mia Lankford, Alexis Agrafiotis, Lisa Ambrose, Paul Locher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Two studies investigated the effect that the arrangement of food on a plate has on liking for the flavor of the food. Food presented in a neatly arranged presentation is liked more than the same food presented in a messy manner. A third study found that subjects expected to like the food in the neat presentations more than in the messy ones and would be willing to pay more for them. They also indicated that the food in the neat presentations came from a higher quality restaurant and that more care was taken with its preparation than the food in the messy presentations. Only the animal-based food was judged as being more contaminated when presented in a messy rather than a neat way. Neatness of the food presentation increases liking for the taste of the food by suggesting greater care on the part of the preparer. Two mechanisms by which greater care might increase liking are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)642-648
Number of pages7
Issue number3
StatePublished - Dec 2011


  • Aesthetics
  • Food liking
  • Food preference
  • Plating
  • Positive contagion
  • Visual cues


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