What your groceries say about you
Recent research has discovered the food you choose may reveal elements of your personality. So what do your snack foods say about you?
It’s no trolley-stopping secret that your fashion choices speak louder than words (it’s Fendi and did I mention I’m fabulous?), but while what we wear has long been understood to be a visual language, some psychologists suggest that the contents of our shopping baskets are also a form of communication. The type of food you choose is said to convey all manner of otherwise-private information, according to a study published in journal Social Psychological and Personality Science. Theory says that as well as fulfilling taste, nutrition and price demands, our eight items or less need to align with the ways in which we perceive ourselves. In turn, such choices reinforce our self-image.
According to the study, in which three groups of consumers preferring organic, non-organic and dessert-type comfort food were asked to perform tasks related to judgment and altruism, organic foodies are more likely to judge others’ moral transgressions, and less likely to give their time to another in need. The chemical-free set donated around half the time to a stranger in need as their dessert-supping counterparts. The reason? Researchers suggest that buying organic food “made them feel better about themselves”, functioning as a “license” to act unethically.
Conversely, comfort foodies may have needed to make up ground in the feelgood department. Sure I downed two crème caramels but I’m a good person, ‘kay? It might sound like clutching at cheese straws (or research grants), but it’s not the first time food has been linked to personality. In his study Snack Food Hedonics and Personality, US neurologist Dr Alan R Hirsch sought to identify personalities based on snack food preference. The contentious findings leveraged the psy-fi study of hedonics (close cousin: hedonism). And how does this snack drawer make you feel?
YOU EAT: POTATO CHIPS
YOU ARE: An ambitious, successful, competitive high achiever. You relish the rewards and outward symbols of success and like to surround yourself with similarly successful people.
WATCH FOR: You may become easily frustrated and indignant towards inconvenience.
YOU EAT: TORTILLA CHIPS
YOU ARE: An A+ seeking perfectionist who imposes similarly lofty standards on humanity at large, taking umbrage at injustices.
WATCH FOR: Setting impossible benchmarks for yourself and others, resulting in perpetual angst and disappointment.
YOU EAT: PRETZELS
YOU ARE: Lively, energetic and prefer novelty to predictability.
WATCH FOR: Leaving a trail of unfinished projects in your quest for new challenges and constant excitement.
YOU EAT: SNACK CRACKERS
YOU ARE: Shy, introspective and contemplative, with an aversion to confrontation that sees you take a peacekeeping role. Your creativity flourishes in solitude, when you’re detached from obligation to others and tasks.
WATCH FOR: Isolating yourself at the expense of rewards that may come from shared experience; avoiding your responsibilities.
YOU EAT: CHEESE FLAVOURED CHIPS
YOU ARE: Formal, conscientious and principled, holding the moral high ground at home and at work. You treat all people as equals.
WATCH FOR: Becoming overly attached to desired outcomes and averse to less-than-best, which may cause you to miss the joy of unexpected experiences.
YOU EAT: SALAMI TWIGS
YOU ARE: Self-sacrificing and loyal.
WATCH FOR: Trusting too much, too quickly.