Recession Cravings

Times of Trouble Create Adventurous Eaters

Macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, mom’s cooking: These are the foods one would expect to crave when times are tough. But a new study shows that in times of trouble we actually choose the unknown over the comfort of the familiar. The study, conducted by Stacy Wood of the Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina, offered test subjects a choice between Lay’s potato chips (the familiar choice) and British potato crisps in unusual flavors such as “Camembert and plum” (the unfamiliar choice). Wood related the choice in potato chip to a questionnaire each test subject had completed, which asked questions about the amount of change in the subject’s life at the time. What she found was that subjects whose lives were in the midst of change were more likely to choose the strange, unknown snack. “Change begets change,” Wood says, and hypothesizes that “changing circumstances may break habitual cues that favor old favorites and promote a more general ‘change mindset’ in the individual.” Still, Camembert and plum?