The nutrition blog over at Women's Health references a study published by the Journal of Consumer Research back in August. We wrote about it back then... Perception Is Reality, but it certainly bears repeating (especially for those of you considering going vegan for the new year). The study basically states that people believe meat tastes better than vegetarian fare, but that is more a case of expectations rather than actual taste.
I'd love to run this taste test, but I'd never be able to actually replicate it myself as no one would expect me to serve meat!
"Heavy meat eaters claim that they eat meat because it tastes better than other foods, such as meat substitutes. Our results challenge that claim. Participants who ate the vegetarian alternative did not rate the taste and aroma less favorably than those who ate the beef product. Instead, what influenced taste evaluation was what they thought they had eaten and whether that food symbolized values that they personally supported ... strategies that might persuade heavy meat eaters to change their diet include changing the cultural associations of fruits and vegetables to encompass values that meat eaters endorse (e.g., power and strength), or challenging heavy meat eaters' assumptions about what tastes good by using in-store (blind) taste tests or showing them results of studies such as this one."
From: Michael W. Allen, Richa Gupta, and Arnaud Monnier. "The Interactive Effect of Cultural Symbols and Human Values on Taste Evaluation" Journal of Consumer Research: August 2008.
Thanks to Gary of Animal Writings for pointing us to the WH blog posting.