Fussy eaters are put off by certain coloured bowls, study finds

red bowl isolated on white background
Picky eaters are influenced by the colour of the bowl their food is in, research suggests. (Stock image: Getty)

Fussy eaters can be influenced by the colour of the bowl their food is in, new research has shown.

Eating on red, white and blue bowls influenced the taste of food for picky adult eaters, affecting whether they wanted to eat it.

But for non-picky people, different bowl colours made no difference, the research suggested.

Researchers at the University of Portsmouth found that red and blue bowls made some people think food tasted more salty, and fussy eaters were put off food most by a red bowl.

The research is hoped to be useful in helping fussy eaters as they try to expand the range of food they eat.

Directly Above View Of Nachos On A Blue Colored Plastic Plate On a Blue Background
Blue bowls made some picky eaters think the food they were eating tasted more salty. (Stock image: Getty)

Dr Lorenzo Stafford, an olfactory researcher in the Department of Psychology at the University of Portsmouth, said: "Having restricted diets can lead to nutritional deficiencies as well as health problems like heart disease, poor bone health and dental issues.

"There is also a social cost because normally enjoyable moments between family members can easily turn into stressful, anxious, and conflict-causing situations when picky eaters feel ashamed or pressured to eat food.

"That is why it’s important to understand the factors that act to ‘push and pull’ this behaviour."

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Being a picky eater, or neophobic, is often defined as those who have a limited diet, need specific food preposition, and have strong dislikes and difficult accepting new food.

In their lifetime a picky eater will generally eat fewer than 20 different items of food.

Writing in Food Quality and Preference journal, researchers said the study is thought to be the first successful investigation into the interaction between colour and taste perception in adult picky and non-picky eaters.

The research involved 50 people who were divided into picky and non-picky eaters.

Its findings around saltiness are believed to be because people may be influenced by salty snacks often being sold in blue packaging.

Dr Stafford added: "This knowledge could be useful for those trying to expand the repertoire of foods.

"For example, if you wanted to encourage a picky eater to try more vegetables well known to be viewed as bitter, you could attempt to serve them on a plate or bowl that is known to increase sweetness.

"Through further research we could determine ways to help positively affect a person’s diet, and as a result their mental and physical health."