Cracker shape modifies ad libitum snack intake of crackers with cheese dip

Arianne Van Eck, Anouk Van Stratum, Dimitra Achlada, Benoît Goldschmidt, Elke Scholten, Vincenzo Fogliano, Markus Stieger, Dieuwerke Bolhuis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Food and energy intake can be effectively lowered by changing food properties, but little is known whether modifying food shape is sufficient to influence intake. This study investigated the influence of cracker shape and cheese viscosity on ad libitum intake of cracker-cheese combinations. Forty-four participants (13 males, 23±3 years, BMI 21±2 kg/m2) participated in four late afternoon snack sessions [2x2 randomized crossover design]. Iso-caloric crackers were baked into flat squares and finger-shape cylindrical sticks and combined with a cheese dip varying in viscosity. Approximately 80 crackers and 500 g cheese dip were served in separate large bowls. Participants consumed crackers with cheese dip ad libitum while watching a movie of 30 minutes. Dipping behaviour and oral processing behaviour were measured simultaneously by hidden balances under the cheese bowls and video recordings. Cracker intake (28±1 crackers) of cracker-cheese combinations was not influenced by cracker shape. Cheese intake of cracker-cheese combinations was 15% higher for flat squared than finger-shape crackers (131 kJ, p=0.016), as a larger amount of cheese was scooped with flat squared crackers (2.9±0.2 vs. 2.3±0.1 g cheese per dip, p<0.001), and showed higher eating rate and energy intake rate (p<0.001). Eating rate over snacking time decreased by reducing bite frequency (p<0.001) while cheese dip size remained fairly constant (p=0.12). Larger energy intake from condiments was facilitated by increased cracker surface, and this did not trigger earlier satiation. Changing food carrier surface may be a promising approach to moderate energy intake of often high energy dense condiments, sauces and toppings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)988-997
JournalBritish Journal of Nutrition
Issue number9
Early online dateJun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 14 Nov 2020


  • ad libitum snack intake
  • composite foods
  • oral processing behaviour
  • shape
  • snacks


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