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The importance of the visual aesthetics of colours in food at a workday lunch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Original languageEnglish
Article number100131
JournalInternational Journal of Gastronomy and Food Science
Early online date13 Dec 2018
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


The aim of the present study was to explore the colour-related aesthetic pleasure in food at workday lunches. First, we conducted a survey (n = 188) to define how interested people are in the visual aesthetics of food and plating. Secondly, an additional questionnaire (n = 105) and a qualitative interview study (n = 12) were conducted to investigate the aesthetic pleasure in food in more detail and its meaning to consumers at a workday lunch. The results of the survey demonstrated that people were interested in the visual aesthetics of food and plating, and this level of interest was dependent upon gender, women being more interested than men. The questionnaire about choice between differently coloured lunch portions (image-processed pictures) showed that the most preferred lunch portions were colourful and had a wide range of colours. In the interview study, aesthetics and colours were considered important, but were not the primary argument for food choices at lunch. The determinants of aesthetic pleasure in lunch food were found to be fluency, pleasantness, functionality and tidiness. At lunch, people liked colourful food with colour contrasts and bright colours, natural and simple colours and colours typical for the foodstuff. Food should not be monotonous; a variety and diversity of colours was preferred. The colours in lunch food are typically the colours of vegetables; therefore, an increase in the number of colours means more vegetables and consequently a healthier diet. At the practical level, the results of this study can be used by restaurants and canteens for composing an aesthetic and visually attractive workday lunch.


  • Colour in food, Lunch, Visual aesthetics, Interview study, Food choice

Publication forum classification

Field of science, Statistics Finland