Honey, We Shrunk the Food: Why Are We So Obsessed with Mini Foods?

(Image credit: Liz Vidyarthi)

It happened gradually, a steady shrinking of normal-sized foods into ‘cute’ bite-size versions. The muffin pan has never gotten more use than in the last few years, as everything from lasagna to pot pies and pizzas has gotten miniaturized. What’s the deal? Well, some scientists say humans are hard-wired to respond to anything that triggers our impulse to nurture and care, and that’s what cute food does.

The Salt recently posed this question, and reminded us that a few years ago Natalie Angie from The New York Times called this ‘the cute factor.’

She said that humans are hardcoded to respond positively to any features or signs that reminds us of needy infants, from “the young of virtually every mammalian species, fuzzy-headed birds like Japanese cranes, woolly bear caterpillars, a bobbing balloon, a big round rock stacked on a smaller rock, a colon, a hyphen and a close parethesis typed in succession.”

Add mini food to that list, and you’ve got yourself an answer. Another interesting aspect, as The Salt notes, is that it’s no surprise we’re miniaturizing rich, carb-and-fat heavy foods like lasagna and pies: “It allows an indulgence without the guilt.”

How do you feel about mini foods? Are you on this trend’s bandwagon?

(Image: Liz Vidyarthi)