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In recent years, a growing number of academic researchers, as well as many marketing and design practitioners, have uncovered a variety of factors that would appear to enhance the visual attractiveness, or deliciousness, of food images to the typical consumer. This review, which contains both narrative and systematic elements, critically evaluates the literature concerning the various factors influencing the eye appeal of food images, no matter whether there is an edible food stimulus physically present in front of the viewer or not. We start by summarizing the evidence concerning the human brain's ability to rapidly determine energy-density in a visual scene and pay attention accordingly. Next, we focus on the importance of embodied mental simulation when it comes to enhancing visual deliciousness. Thereafter, we review the literature on the importance of visual aesthetic features in eye-appeal. The wide range of visual attributes that help to enhance food attractiveness include symmetry, shape, freshness, glossiness, dynamic-presentation, etc. The review concludes with sections on the importance of background/ambient lighting/colour, and the tricks used by those who digitally manipulate images. Taken together, therefore, many different factors ultimately influence the visual deliciousness of food images.

Original publication




Journal article


Food Quality and Preference

Publication Date