Foodies, foodies everywhere! From television programming on the Food Network to lots of gorgeous photos of food from bloggers and magazines, our sensory appreciation of food goes beyond taste and smell. The visual presentation of food – right down to polished silverware and warm lighting to enhance the appearance food textures – can entice us to eat a food.
Usually photos of food have this aesthetic that brings to mind flavorful words like fresh, savory, fluffy, decadent, smooth, fragrant, delicate…
So, if this is the food we find so attractive, why might some grade-schoolers also think a packaged sandwiched delivered by a vending machine is more tasty than the same sandwich offered on the lunch line? The Lunch Box just wrote a great post discussing the stigma of school lunch, which could drive children to choose food from a vending machine over hot lunch – even when the foods are exactly the same:
“Lincoln students reported enjoying the novelty of getting their meal from a machine, and also felt the line was shorter than the cafeteria line. Although the machine offered the same sandwiches and side items available in the cafeteria, students believed the food in the machine was fresher and tasted better. It appears that the stigma attached to eating in the cafeteria does not apply to using the new vending machine, making this an excellent way to motivate students to choose school lunch.”
While the post brings up some excellent points about why children might avoid purchasing lunch due to stigma – a valid argument – it also makes me wonder how much kids are attracted to foods that have that pre-packaged appearance. Could these foods remind children of those processed snacks they see in advertisements?
So, while many of us Slow Food, local food-loving, epicurean foodies drool over images of crunchy sweet potato crisps and rustic plum tarts, will the next generation drool over shiny plastic packages?