Food colour affects taste

20 Oct 2013 06.02 am by Renny Wijeyamohan

Orange and cream coloured cups make hot chocolate taste better – research has shown. In a study of 57 participants who were served the delicious beverage in red, white, cream and orange cups, those that consumed the hot chocolate from the orange and cream cups described it as having a better flavour. Interestingly, the reported smell and sweetness were not greatly affected by the colour of cup.


As reported in Food Australia, one of the authors of the study, Betina Piqueras-Fitzman, representing a team of researchers from the Polytechnic University of Valencia in Spain and the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom noted, “As this effect occurs, more attention should be paid to the colour of the container as it has more potential than one could imagine.”


The importance of colour in enhancing (as shown by the study performed by Piqueras-Fitzman and her co-author Charles Spence) and even confusing flavours is well known. Lifestyle blogger Alison Ford reports a 2007 study from the Journal of Consumer Research where research participants favoured glasses of orange-coloured orange juice as opposed to those coloured various food dyes. As well as 1995 study from the Journal of Food Science where participants were confused by the colour of drinks – reporting that each drink tasted like its colour rather than its true flavour (a grape-flavoured red drink tasted like “cherry” rather than “grape” Ford notes).


Piqueras-Fitzman and Spence observe that the results of their study “are relevant to sensory scientists interested in how the brain integrates visual input (such as color), not only from the food itself, but also from the container, packaging or plateware from which it is being consumed.” Proving that our senses are not isolated from each other and that eating and drinking are multi-sensory experiences which are influenced by sight and smell as much as taste.


colour and taste  
color and taste  
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