U.S. Department of Defense


Date of this Version



Published in Appetite 44 (2005) 23–31.


Laboratory data with single exposures showed that palatability has a positive relationship with food intake. The question addressed in this study is whether this relationship also holds over repeated exposures in non-laboratory contexts in more natural environments. The data were collected in four field studies, lasting 4–11 days with 307 US Army men and 119 Army women, and comprised 5791 main meals and 8831 snacks in total. Acceptability was rated on the nine point hedonic scale, and intake was registered in units of 1/4, 1/2, 3/4, or 1 or more times of the provided portion size. Correlation coefficients between individual acceptability ratings and intakes varied from 0.22 to 0.62 for the main meals (n=193–2267), and between 0.13 and 0.56 for the snacks (n=304–2967). The likelihood of choosing a meal for the second time was positively related to the acceptability rating of the meal when it was consumed for the first time. The results reinforce the importance of liking in food choice and food intake/choice behavior. However, the magnitude of the correlation coefficients between acceptability ratings and food intake suggest that environmental factors also have an important role in determining intake and choice.