SATO Wataru Laboratory

Image database of Japanese food samples with nutrition information

(Sato, Minemoto, Sawada, Miyazaki, & Fushiki: PeerJ)

Visual processing of food plays an important role in controlling eating behaviors.
Several studies have developed image databases of food to investigate visual food processing.
However, few databases include non-Western foods and objective nutrition information on the foods.

We developed an image database of Japanese food samples that has detailed nutrition information, including calorie, carbohydrate, fat, and protein contents (cf. the Syokuiku Satisfactory "a La Carte" Tray (SAT) system: Iwasaki, Osaka, Japan).
To validate the database, we presented the images, together with Western food images selected from an existing database, and had Japanese participants rate their affective (valence, arousal, liking, and wanting) and cognitive (naturalness, recognizability, and familiarity) appraisals and estimates of nutrition.

The results showed that all affective and cognitive appraisals (except arousal) of the Japanese food images were higher than those of Western food.
Correlational analyses found positive associations between the objective nutrition information and subjective estimates of the nutrition information, and between the objective calorie/fat content and affective appraisals.

These data suggest that by using our image database, researchers can investigate the visual processing of Japanese food and the relationships between objective nutrition information and the psychological/neural processing of food.

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