People who opt for cold food in a café more likely to buy snacks too
Daily Mail 2hrs ago
a store filled with lots of different types of food on a shelf: MailOnline logo © Provided by Daily Mail MailOnline logo

People who pick cold foods to eat from their local café or work canteen are more likely to end up eating more than if they bought hot food, a study has found.

Researchers from the US monitored purchases at a single café involving either hot or cold sandwiches — and other items — over a fortnight.

They found that customers buying cold, rather than hot, sandwiches were twice as likely to also pick up other items such as crisps, cookies, or a high-calorie drinks. 

This held true even when the sandwiches were identical — that is, that the only difference between them was that one had been heated and the other sold cold.

According to the team, the reason why people buy more when ordering cold food is that they expect such to be less satisfying that hot food.

a store filled with lots of different types of food: People who pick cold foods to eat from their local café (pictured) or work canteen are more likely to end up eating more than if they bought hot food, a study has found (stock image) © Provided by Daily Mail People who pick cold foods to eat from their local café (pictured) or work canteen are more likely to end up eating more than if they bought hot food, a study has found (stock image)

The study was conducted by consumer behaviour researcher Sara Baskentli of the  Western Washington University and her colleagues.

'We may expect hot foods to have more salient pleasurable sensory attributes compared to cold foods and this affects foods' perceived satiety,' she explained.


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'Understanding how serving temperature could make us eat more or less will contribute to the goal of a healthier consumer population.' 

In their study, the researchers recorded over a two-week period the orders of a total of 123 customers who patronised a café that served sandwiches both hot and cold — as well as various drinks, salads, sides and snacks including crisps and cookies.

Purchase choices were determined based on the restaurant's transaction records.

As they were specifically interested in the differences between hot and cold foods, the team focussed exclusively on orders for individual sandwiches — and any other food items bought at the same time.

'Results revealed that customers who ordered a cold (versus hot) sandwich were nearly twice as likely [46.2 vs 24.1 per cent) to order one or more complementary items with their sandwich,' the researchers explained.

a sandwich sitting on top of a wooden cutting board: They found that customers buying cold sandwiches were twice as likely to also pick up other items such as crisps, cookies, or a high-calorie drinks than those who ordered hot food © Provided by Daily Mail They found that customers buying cold sandwiches were twice as likely to also pick up other items such as crisps, cookies, or a high-calorie drinks than those who ordered hot food

In a second study, the team performing similar observations in a smaller café, one whose sales are predominantly of hot or cold beverages, but which also has a small a selection of food items — including croissants and muffins — on the menu.

'Coffee shop patrons who bought a cold rather than hot beverage were about three times as likely to purchase complementary food items, spend nearly a dollar more on such items, and add calories to their consumption episode,' the team said.

'Thus, we show that the serving temperature of consumables impacts not only the health but also the wealth of consumers.' 

The full findings of the study were published in the journal Appetite.

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