Monday, October 20, 2008

Researchy: How We Eat

A Dutch university is after my own heart. They've set up a cafeteria equipped with cameras to study patrons' food-related decision-making down to the very last detail, all in an effort to understand what influences food choices. (via Freakonomics)

The research focuses more on the details surrounding the food - placement, color of table, etc. - than on the food itself, but still, interesting stuff. It reminds me a lot of Paco Underhill's book Why We Buy: The Science of Shopping. Underhill takes a similarly detail-oriented look at retail situations. It also happened to be the book that got me interested in applying anthropological techniques to marketing.

Of course I wish the cafeteria research project was even deeper, involving more of a look at the food itself, but that would probably make for too many variables to be manageable. And still, it makes me happy to see such cool stuff happening out there.

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