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This Daily Mail article says the NHS is replacing their plates with blue ones to get patients to eat more.

NHS caterers have finally found a means of getting frail patients to eat more – putting the meals on blue plates. The simple switch has helped elderly and weak patients eat nearly a third more food than those served exactly the same meals on white crockery. Experts think blue plates work because food looks more tasty.

Is there any evidence to support that blue plates increase consumption?

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    It only needs to work for the NHS for the claim to be true, though. – Sklivvz Feb 1 '14 at 0:38
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Experts think blue plates work because food looks more tasty

No they don't.

Patients with dementia can see food on a blue plate. If they can see food, they are more likely to eat it.

Some patients with dementia have problems seeing white food on a white plate, or red food on a red plate. When they don't see any food, they don't eat.

It is possible the NHS doesn't serve much food that is blue to dementia patients.

It is the evident existence of the food, not it's perceived flavour, that is the point at issue.


People with dementia may experience problems with eating and drinking. As well as poor appetite and changes in food preferences, they may have difficulty recognising food, drinks and cutlery; seeing foods on a plate; communicating their likes and dislikes; or coordinating movement to eat.

To support these patients, we have made a picture menu which is soon to be taken to patients, dementia groups and learning difficulty groups for feedback before being finalised and printed for use throughout the Trust.

We are currently trialling sweet and savoury finger foods to encourage patients who have difficulty using cutlery to eat.

People with advanced dementia can find it difficult to differentiate different shades of colour. Hence mashed potato on a white plate or tomato based meals on a red plate are difficult to see. We are piloting the use of blue plates for patients who have advanced dementia and who the nursing and dietetic teams feel would benefit from this added support. The rationale behind this is that if patients can see their food more clearly, they are more likely to be stimulated to eat it.

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