The effects of environment on product design and evaluation: Meals in context, institutional foodservice
Authors: Edwards, J.S.A., Hartwell, H.J. and Price, S.
In general, consumer perceptions of institutional foodservice have evolved from the interaction between previous experiences of “eating out” and the feeding context itself. This setting encompasses several “operational environments,” with the primary characteristics of institutional foodservice being outlined and considered in this chapter. There are many contextual influences that impinge on the overall meal experience, such as the dining environment and physical attributes, all of which have the ability to influence, for example, what is chosen, how much is consumed, and how much it is enjoyed. The contextual variables associated with institutional foodservice have been identified, and include time available, length of wait, effort, social facilitation, décor, table layout, background music, and odor. It is important, when examining institutional foodservice, to consider not only the food or the meal, but also the context, that is, the situation in which the meal will be chosen and consumed. Only then will it be possible to ensure that the foodservice provision is a total entity, or a meal experience, and not simply a refueling process.