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To find out what influences our food choices when we eat out and delve further into consumer believes about provenance, sustainability, menu design and how food is prepared, take your place at the Experimental Café, which returns to Food Matters Live 2017 in association with Institut Paul Bocuse and Levy Restaurants.

Last year, 181 visitors with 34 different nationalities visited the Experimental Café and took part in a new live experiment exploring food choice.

During the three days, data were collected on the food decisions of the Café’s customers. The objective was to examine the influence of how the menu is structured.

While the food offer was the same throughout the three days, the structure of the menus was slightly modified every day, going from “à la carte” (no suggestion of number or category of dishes, day 1) to set menu (set number of items, day 2) to structured set menu (set number and category of items, day 3).

Results

The data collected provided interesting exploratory results on the influence of menu structure on food choices and on the resulting nutritional intake. Visitors tended to be more satisfied, and to eat a more balanced meal, with a set menu, but the structure of the set menu itself had a strong impact on what was chosen and how much was eaten – a flexible set menu seems to be more beneficial to consumers than one that was structured into categories.

Coming up

This year, the Experimental Café is back within a new and bigger setting, and a novel research experiment based on consumers’ attitudes and perception. Join the researchers to experience an innovative and tasty food offer while learning more about what influences your food choices.

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