Most of us take a very well care of our food ingredients, what our meal will be combined of and the quality of these ingredients, but a lot of people forget about a very important component.
This component is emotions and how they impact our eating habits.
When we look at such topic we will find out that emotions are connected to the food we do eat, a research was made by BMC public health came to the conclusion that some sort of emotions are connected to the consumption of some food.
that negative and positive emotions were significantly associated with food choices as follows
At the between-person level, participants who reported positive emotions more frequently compared to others consumed meats/proteins more often (OR = 1.8; 99% CI = 1.2, 2.8). At the within-person level, on occasions when any negative emotion was reported (versus no negative emotion reported) participants were more likely to consume meats/proteins (OR = 1.5, 99% CI = 1.0, 2.1); on occasions when any positive emotion was reported as compared to occasions with no positive emotions, participants were more likely to consume sweets (OR = 1.7, 99% CI = 1.1, 2.6), but less likely to consume pizza/fast food (OR = 0.6, 99% CI = 0.4, 1.0).
But what this research has to do with us people working in the food industry, or how does chefs have any association with this research outcome?
Usually these researches do impact the field of marketing, mega brands use such insights and translate it in communication with their audience, the mass data that they do own on the behavior of their customers combined with such researches outcome defines what emotional appeals they need to associate their brands with, and how they prefer their brand to be positioned in the mind of the consumer.
But most of the time regular restaurants and chefs neglect such information while they’re working on their menus.
Also some mega brands fail to integrate the emotional appeal they communicated through their promotions and advertising in the food component, and the magic stops at just the packaging.
So the regular restaurants and chefs got to look to their recipes and meal creations beyond the components and the portioning, we simply are not neglecting the traditional approach of creating menus and recipes we are just recommending adding an extra layer to the procedure which the association of emotions to food.
The question that needs to be answered is how this layer should be added and implemented?
Lets break it down in a simple manner, the first thing that needs to be considered and is actually a very important booster of success is specialization, which means choosing what will you cook, or what your restaurant menu will include.
While it might sounds like a good idea to create a big menu that includes more items, this will have a very negative impact on both operational and marketing efforts, even if you had the means to overcome the operational challenges you still won’t solve the marketing ones, a huge dilemma of targeting and positioning will eventually tire your project out.
So the best decision to take is choosing wisely what will you serve.
The second thing to do is where you insert this new layer of the emotions association, the step of menu engineering is well known for food professionals, when it’s being conducted you understand the components of your menu on a very small scale, as it’s being focused at on a very micro level.
While breaking down these information to conclude costing you have to figure out what is the most common component of your menu and how this component is associated with the humans emotions, and how these emotions are affecting eating behavior.
Of course you will not focus on salt and pepper, but on a bigger scale components.
Lets take the previous research as a quick case study.
You own a restaurant, and in the menu engineering phase you concluded that most of your menu consists of protein based food, the research above connects the positive emotions to the consumption of protein.
Thus, your marketing efforts needs to be appealing with positive emotions, this will impact for an integrated food experience, starting from the first encounter to the dining phase, as the hungry customer whom has positive feelings will tend to eat protein, what's a better option than a restaurant that shows positive appeal, and its menu includes a lot of protein?
a better experience will be completed since the customer was able to feed both his/her psychological and physical needs.
It’s a very little detail that a lot of food professionals don’t look into, but it adds a great impact on the overall marketing efforts for your business.