How do you build rapport with a new employer or someone on a first date? Eat the same food as your companion, a study has revealed.
According to the study published online in Journal of Consumer Psychology, researchers from the University of Chicago launched a series of experiments to determine whether similar food consumption facilitates a sense of closeness and trust between adults.
The researchers tested the influence of food in a study in which pairs were assigned to opposing sides of a labour negotiation.
Some pairs ate similar foods during the negotiations while others ate different foods. The pairs that had eaten similar foods reached an agreement almost twice as quickly as the groups that ate dissimilar foods.
"People tend to think that they use logic to make decisions, and they are largely unaware that food preferences can influence their thinking. On a very basic level, food can be used strategically to help people work together and build trust," said Ayelet Fishbach, Professor, University of Chicago.
At large group meetings, organisers could limit the number of food options in order to encourage similar food consumption, which could lead to increased trust and collaboration, suggested the study.
The researchers also discovered that these findings applied to marketing products. Participants trusted information from advertisers when consumers ate the same type of food as advertisers giving a testimonial about the product.