Researchers at University of Bristol watched male and female adults drink from either a fluted glass—wide at the top, gently tapering to a more narrow bottom—or a straight cylinder-shaped glass. The glass was filled with twelve ounces of lager, which is the equivalent of a standard bottle or can in America.
There was about a 60% difference in the consumption time between the two glass types. Calling upon both your knowledge of consumers and your experience in swallowing the suds, which shaped full glass do you think resulted in faster consumption?
The correct answer: It took about twelve minutes for a drinker from the straight glass to finish it. With the fluted glass, the consumption time was about seven minutes.
Why would people drink more quickly from the fluted glass? To answer this question, the researchers asked all the participants to indicate on each shaped glass what they estimated to be the half-empty point. The results: First, it’s harder to estimate this point on a fluted glass. Second, those who were least accurate in judgments were most likely to show a big difference in consumption time between the two different glass shapes.
It’s a matter of perception of progress, and that provides ideas for how you can influence the speed and amount of consumption at retail.
- When the beer study protocol was done with 6 ounces of beer instead of 12—the halfway point for each glass—there were not significant differences between the down-it time between the shapes.
- Researchers at University of Utah-Salt Lake City watched what people ate in a popular Italian restaurant. They were keeping their eyes on how much the diner consumed and the size of the fork the diner had been given with which to eat it. A larger fork caused the diners to eat less. Using a larger fork, you take more with each bite, so you perceive that you’re making more progress toward satisfying your hunger.
- Researchers at Cornell University and University of Central Florida found that study participants given a 8.4 oz. tub of fresh popcorn ate about 45% more than those given a 4.2 oz. tub. Larger servings subconsciously suggest to the brain we must eat more to show expected progress.
Fork Over Those Smaller Plates