Most restaurant marketing teams seem to assume that seeing the picture of a food means automatic cravings. However, a recent study reveals that when participants studied dozens of pictures of food, they enjoyed the pictured snacks less when they finally were able to eat them, reports .
The researchers concluded that stimulating tasting food with pictures can satiate the desire to actually eat similar foods. This satiation is why the first bite of something you've been craving is always tastier than your fifth or eighth bite. When you've examined too many pictures of a certain food -- salty foods, in the experiment -- when you actually eat one of these foods, like a peanut, it doesn't taste as good as it would have normally.
The study may be a sign that some restaurants, especially big chains that rely on repetitive and highly visual advertising, may need to rethink their marketing strategy.
"If consumers see too many ads that cause such sensory simulations, the ironic effect could be a decreased enjoyment of the advertised food when it is eaten," researchers note in the report. "Therefore, marketers should consider our findings when designing their ads (and perhaps avoid excessive sensory simulations)."
It's a well-known dieting aphorism that moderation is key. Maybe it's time for restaurant marketing teams to start paying attention and cutting back.