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Tags: color | food | taste

Color Influences Taste: Research

Tuesday, 08 January 2013 09:44 AM EST

Any top chef will tell you we taste with our eyes first. But that old culinary expression is getting a new scientific spin from researchers who have found the way food tastes is strongly influenced by the color of the container from which we eat and drink.
In new research published in the Journal of Sensory Studies, two food scientists from the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the University of Oxford have found hot chocolate tastes better in an orange- or cream-colored cup than in a white or red one.
The study adds to past work suggesting our senses perceive food in a different way depending on the characteristics of the serving container we use.
"The color of the container where food and drink are served can enhance some attributes like taste and aroma," explained Betina Piqueras-Fiszman, a researcher at the Polytechnic University of Valencia (Spain) who conducted the study with colleague Charles Spence, from the University of Oxford (England).
To reach their conclusions, the scientists asked 57 participants to evaluate samples of hot chocolate served in four different types of plastic cups. All were the same size but of different colors: white, cream, red, and orange with white on the inside.The results indicated the volunteers found the flavor of chocolate served in orange- or cream-colored cups better — even though the chocolate was the same in all cups.
The participants also found the chocolate was slightly sweeter and more aromatic when served in a cream-colored cup.
"There is no fixed rule stating that flavor and aroma are enhanced in a cup of a certain color or shade," said Piqueras-Fiszman. "In reality this varies depending on the type of food, but the truth is that, as this effect occurs, more attention should be paid to the color of the container as it has more potential than one could imagine."
The findings are not only relevant to chefs and restauranteurs. The researchers said the study results could deepen scientists’ understanding of how the brain integrates visual and sensory information.
They also noted past studies have suggested people perceive yellow tins to improve the flavor of lemon, while soft drinks served in cold colors (like blue) seem to be more thirst-quenching than warm colors (like red) and those served in pink cans are perceived as being more sugary. Other research has found strawberry mousse appears to be sweeter and more intense when served on a white plate than a black plate. And coffee in brown and red packaging has been deemed stronger and more aromatic than coffee packed in blue and yellow containers.

© HealthDay

How food tastes is strongly influenced by the color of the container from which we eat and drink.
Tuesday, 08 January 2013 09:44 AM
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