Slower consumption rates

Consumers enjoy products more in the long-term as long as they are not overused or over-consumed when purchased. According to new research, consumers almost always choose to munch food products too rapidly, meaning they quickly grow bored of initially well-liked foods and snacks. Jess Galak, of Carnegie Mellon University, USA, revealed that overly zealous consumption of products – such as a favourite snack – initially can lead to decreases in enjoyment and consumption patterns of products more quickly than if they were initially consumed at slower rates. He said: “Consumers are naturally prone to consume products they enjoy too rapidly for their own good, growing tired of them more quickly than they would if they slowed down. “The results also demonstrate that such overly-rapid consumption results from a failure to appreciate that longer breaks between consumption episodes slow satiation”. The news about slower consumption rates may increase consumer enjoyment in the long run comes shortly after a US based research group suggested industry should use subconscious markers as portion related ‘segmentation cues’ in some products. Led by Professor Brian Wansink of Cornell University, that particular research studies the theory of whether segmentation cues in the form of edible markers could reduce the amount of crisps consumed. Wansink said: “People generally eat what is put in front of them if it is palatable. An increasing amount of research suggests that some people use visual indications such as a clean plate or bottom of a bowl to tell them when to stop eating”. Thus, the team suggested that subtle segmentation of products could help industry to promote better portion control and fight obesity due to overconsumption. Galak’s new research seems to go a step further by suggesting that such slowed consumption could in-fact increase overall consumer enjoyment, meaning improved liking in the long term. The researchers asked consumers to eat a well-liked food such as chocolate or play an exciting video game either at their own pace or at longer intervals. The research team revealed that, when consumers were to choose a rate of consumption and the decision forced them to consume slowly, they enjoyed the overall experience more than those who either chose their rate of consumption in an unconstrained manner or those whose rate of consumption was chosen for them. The team also said that because consumers choose to consume too quickly, they don’t appreciate that spacing out consumption decreases satiation and thereby increases enjoyment. Paradoxically, therefore we tend to make choices that will bring us less pleasure overall.


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