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Edinburgh Live
Edinburgh Live
Alexander Smail

Food stylist shares how they make food look better in adverts using odd props

Food Unwrapped's Supermarket Secrets has revealed why food such as microwave meals look more appetising on its packaging than in real life.

The programme, which was broadcast on Channel 4 on Monday night, went behind the scenes with supermarket giants, and explored the war on waste and the truth about lookalike brands.

One segment saw host Kate Lally look deeper into why ready meals appear more delicious on the box.

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She met with food stylist Rob Morris to learn about the secret tricks to make food look as good as possible for packaging and advertisements.

"When you get food home, it never looks quite as good as it does on the packaging," Kate said.

"That's because you don't have me doing it for you, that's really the secret," Rob responded.

He then explained that, while supermarkets are not legally allowed to add or change the recipe of the food on the box for the sake of promotional images, they are permitted to make adjustments to the finished product.

He showed Kate how to make a Tuscan bean soup look more appetising by placing more of the beans in a visible position at the top of the dish by placing some over a non-visible layer of acetate.

"You have to use what's in the product," Rob elaborated, "I can't add more beans to it because there aren't that many beans in there."

"What we see is exactly what's inside, but you spent a long time making it look beautiful," Kate summarised.

Rob then explained that, while the product being photographed has to be the same as what is inside, other pieces of food in the image do not need to even be real.

For example, an image of an apple pie product may have fake ice cream beside it, and acrylic ice cubes may be placed in alcohol products to make them look more appealing.

The two then undertook a challenge to make a basic microwave burger look appealing in a photograph.

To start, Kate and Rob bought six of the same burgers and combined the best parts of each of them and placed the bacon which came with the burger in the oven to give it a more crispy texture.

They then dipped cheese into hot water to give it a more melted and appealing look.

They transformed a run-of-the-mill microwave burger into an appetising meal using tricks of the trade (Channel 4)

Afterwards, Kate met with food photographer Howard Shooter to learn how to take delicious-looking photographs of her burger.

"The really important part is props, and what effect that has on what we're shooting," he explained.

The pair then found a small chopping board to place the burger on to make it look as large as possible, and added a small amount of oil to the meat to make it look as though it was freshly cooked.

Viewers at home couldn't believe the results, with one person tweeting: "I've lost count of the amount of times my other half has been disappointed with something he ordered not looking anything like the picture. He's been conned."

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