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The influence of condiment availability on cuisine selection

Robert Pellegrino (The Smell and Taste Clinic, Technische Universität Dresden, Dresden, Germany)
Brittany Frederick (Department of Food Science, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA)
Vishwesh Tijare (Columbus Foods, San Francisco, California, USA)
Ana H. da Silveira Venzel (Department of Food Science, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA)
Alisson A. Rios (Department of Food Science, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA)
Thais M.C. Gomes (Department of Food Science, Universidade Federal de Lavras, Lavras, Brazil)
Jucilene Sena dos Santos (Department of Food Technology, The IFMA – Campus Maracanã, São Luís, Brazil)
Han-Seok Seo (Department of Food Science, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USA)

British Food Journal

ISSN: 0007-070X

Article publication date: 5 June 2017




In most restaurants or dining facilities, even though a set of condiments such as salt, black pepper, ketchup, and mustard, is placed on the tables, and such condiments are a staple of many cuisines, they have been largely ignored with respect to understanding their effects on food choice. The purpose of this study is to determine whether condiments placed on tables at dining facilities can affect consumers’ cuisine selection.


Four individual booths were set up with four different condiment configurations: 1) branded ketchup and mustard, 2) unbranded ketchup and mustard, 3) unbranded soy sauce and chili-garlic sauce, and 4) no condiment. In all, 68 participants were assigned in random sequence to all booths, with each given a menu listing nine different cuisines (three North American, three Asian, and three Hispanic cuisines) in a random order, and asked to identify their top three preferred cuisines at each booth.


Participants chose Asian cuisines with higher priority than Mexican and North American selections when Asian condiments were placed on the table. Interestingly, this effect occurred only when the participants had noticed the condiment setting, but not when they had unnoticed it. Such Asian condiment availability-induced cuisine selection was also more pronounced for external eaters.

Research limitations/implications

Food service professionals and business owners, especially in food courts comprised of a variety of ethnic food vendors, should perhaps consider placing a set of condiments associated with their target cuisines at visible table spaces at dining facilities, thereby leading customers to select their cuisine items.


This study provides new empirical evidence that consumers are more likely to select cuisines congruent to the choice of condiment setting placed on their dining table.



Pellegrino, R., Frederick, B., Tijare, V., da Silveira Venzel, A.H., Rios, A.A., Gomes, T.M.C., Santos, J.S.d. and Seo, H.-S. (2017), "The influence of condiment availability on cuisine selection", British Food Journal, Vol. 119 No. 6, pp. 1313-1323.



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