Hot Chocolate is Better in an Orange Mug
A team of scientists at Polytechnic University of Valencia and Oxford University have made a rather surprising discovery this week that may have you rethinking your current choice in dinnerware: the flavor of hot chocolate will not only vary depending on the color of your mug, but will also taste best when drank out of an orange or creme container. Perhaps even more astonishing is that white and red containers will not enhance the flavors of your drink at all. It’s a finding that both reinforces the influence that our eyes have on our taste buds and also the importance of how the packaging of food and drinks could affect what people may buy.
The study published in the Journal of Sensory Studies was conducted by having 57 participants taste the same type of hot chocolate in four different cups of the same size that were either colored white, red, creme, or orange on the outside, while all had white interiors. Every participant in the study came to the same conclusion: the hot chocolate in the orange and creme cups was superior the others, despite any actual difference in the hot chocolate itself. More shockingly, many felt that the chocolate in the creme colored cups smelled better and tasted sweeter.
According to the study’s co-author, Betina Piqueras-Fiszma, although no one has yet been able to find a definitive reason for what colors are best with which particular foods, the confirmed association between visual stimuli and our sense of taste will likely have large ramifications for both the culinary world and marketing executives alike. Piqueras-Fiszma explains:
The color of the container where you serve food and drinks can enhance some of its attributes, like flavor and aroma. There’s no fixed rule to tell which color enhances what food. This varies depending on the type of food but the truth is that the effect is there. Companies should pay more attention to the container because it has a lot more potential than what you imagine.
Other examples of color affecting flavor have already been explored by this research team and other scientists, including confirmation that strawberry mouse is tastier on a white plate than on a black plate, red food items will make an entree taste spicier, and coffee served from brown packaging or containers leads to a stronger flavor. But given how seemingly random these associations can be, the research team believe that these findings may encourage those in the food industry to begin experimenting with new containers for food and see what it affect it will have on consumers.
Tags: counter intuitive