01 July 2013


Posted in Blog

Your brain is busy deciding whether to select a certain food to eat way before you take the first bite. Choosing food and eating it involves sight, smell, feel, and taste.

Your toddler will often look, smell, and feel new food quite a few times before he actually puts it into his mouth.

Recent research by Prof. Charles Spence and Dr Vanessa Harrar at University of Oxford, suggests that the cutlery used to serve food can also influence our perception of how the food will taste. The researchers found that food tasted sweeter on small spoons. In addition, white yoghurt was rated as tasting sweeter off a white spoon rather than a black one. The testers also rated that cheese tasted more salty when offered from a knife compared to a spoon, fork, or toothpick.


Past research also demonstrated that the colour of a drink influenced our perception of how thirst quenching it would be. Fluid from a blue glass was rated more thirst quenching than from green, red, or yellow glasses, and sweeter if drunk from a red glass. In addition, in another research project, study participants were asked to rate the taste of cocoa. They preferred the flavour when it was served in an orange mug.


Another area of research done by Drs Wansink and Van Ittersum showed that our perception of how much food is on a plate is influenced by the colour of the dish. The studies found that more food was served on a plate if there was less colour contrast between the plate and food. For example, you will tend to serve bigger portions of green vegetables on a green plate as you will perceive the portion to be smaller. Conversley, if you use a white plate, and have more marked colour contrast between plate and food colour, you will be more inclined to serve less, because our brain perceives the food portion to be larger.




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