Factors Underlying Food Intake and Underconsumption—Food
IN PART III THE ATTRIBUTES of food that affect selection, consumption, and acceptability are considered. Chapter 10 explores ration image and stereotype that find military food to be less flavorful, less appetizing, and having less variety than commercial food. This negative image translates into lowered acceptance and, therefore, lowered consumption. The author observes that by conducting an analysis to identify the informational variables (e.g., labeling and packaging) that contribute to the negative, stereotypical image of rations, it may be possible to develop a program to improve the image of military operational rations.
With research related to acceptability and consumption, Chapter 11 discusses how meal and food composition and presentation influence intake and satiety. In order to delay decreased intake upon repeated consumption, the initial palatability of a ration should be high, which may be helped by self-selection. Palatability also may be maintained with variety in flavor, texture, and appearance.
Fluid intake and its effect on energy intake and hydration are the subjects of Chapter 12. As part of the Meal, Ready-to-Eat package, research shows that beverage products account for close to 20 percent of energy intake. More beverage calories are consumed with an increased number of beverages offered and an increased accessibility to the beverages. The role of hydration in maintaining food intake as well as the potential role of beverages for supplying additional energy are mentioned.
The section concludes with an industry perspective on increasing product acceptability in Chapter 13. The author notes that an individual's food intake behavior changes slowly, but change in food preferences and selection patterns have been demonstrated with improvements to packaging and seasoning. The author also mentions that the value of snack food as a source of additional nutrients and energy should not be overlooked.