Animal friendly products or the new thing on the market? Salads that are on a blue table or salads on a red table? Loaf of bread or sliced up bread? Cheese slices wrapped in plastic or not?

Dutch lab researchers try to figure out what people eat and how to influence their habits. They study the influences on eating in order to be able to find ways to make products more appealing and to direct consumers to healthier choices.

The $4.5 million Restaurant of the Future is run by scientists of Wageningen University and Research Center, working with Sodexo, an international catering firm, and the Noldus software company, to answer questions from the food industry and behaviorists.

"We think of ourselves as rational beings, always making the best choice," says Rene Koster, director of the Restaurant of the Future Foundation. But that's not true; 80 percent of our decisions are made subconsciously, he said, citing U.S. studies.

Research on consumer behavior has been around since marketing began. But it has reached a whole new level now – spy machines, databases, and battery analysis – its almost as complicated as rocket science.

One might wonder why there is so much effort put into such a project. Here is the answer from the MSNBC news article Where Big Brother is watching what you eat: Knowing how to subtly guide choices could have a huge commercial impact.

So, is this project going to help people eat healthier or is it just another way for companies to increase their sales?

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