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© 2015 The Authors. We report three online experiments designed to assess how the visual composition of the elements of a commercially-successful dish would be perceived by naïve assessors, in terms of their liking and willingness to pay. Experiment 1 showed that an upward orientation of the dish was preferred as compared to when the elements pointed downward/toward the observer, or else pointed to the side. Experiment 2 demonstrates that optimally orienting the plate translates into an increased willingness to pay for the food. In addition, the results also revealed that both a triangle formed by the three principal elements (onions), and the direction in which these v-shaped elements pointed, affected people's judgments of the ideal orientation of the dish as a whole. Finally, a citizen science experiment (Experiment 3) held at London's Science Museum provided further support for our findings. These results highlight the potential of a digital (Internet-based) testing methodology to determine the optimal visual presentation of food.

Original publication




Journal article


Food Quality and Preference

Publication Date





194 - 202