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Plate shape and colour interact to influence taste and quality judgment


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Background Research has demonstrated that factors external to the food source can influence consumers’ perceptions of food. Contextual factors including cutlery or tableware (for example, size and composition), the atmosphere (for example, noise levels and odours), and packaging (for example, shape and colour) have all been shown to influence the perceptual experience. Plateware has also been shown to influence taste perception since ratings of a dessert (strawberry mousse) were modified by plate colour but not by plate shape. In the current study, which used a 2 × 2 between-subjects design, the effect of plate colour (black versus white) and plate shape (round versus square) on taste perception is re-examined. Through sweetness, intensity, quality, and liking ratings of cheesecake, the current study extends the previous investigation to include an examination of the plate colour by plate shape interaction while using plates with more angular corners.
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R E S E A R C H Open Access
Plate shape and colour interact to influence taste
and quality judgments
Peter C Stewart
and Erica Goss
Background: Research has demonstrated that factors external to the food source can influence consumers
perceptions of food. Contextual factors including cutlery or tableware (for example, size and composition), the
atmosphere (for example, noise levels and odours), and packaging (for example, shape and colour) have all been
shown to influence the perceptual experience. Plateware has also been shown to influence taste perception since
ratings of a dessert (strawberry mousse) were modified by plate colour but not by plate shape. In the current study,
which used a 2 × 2 between-subjects design, the effect of plate colour (black versus white) and plate shape (round
versus square) on taste perception is re-examined. Through sweetness, intensity, quality, and liking ratings of
cheesecake, the current study extends the previous investigation to include an examination of the plate colour by
plate shape interaction while using plates with more angular corners.
Results: Judgments made on simple elemental properties (sweetness and flavour intensity) and higher level
compound property judgments (food quality or food liking) were shown to be differentially influenced by the
interaction of plate colour and plate shape. Both elemental and compound property judgments were heightened
by white round plates while compound judgments were also increased when food was presented on black square
Conclusions: The results suggest that plate colour and shape influence taste perception but not in a straight-
forward manner and instead the influence depends on the interaction of the two variables. Depending on which
attribute of the perceptual experience is more important, knowledge of this interaction could be used
advantageously by the culinary community.
Keywords: Taste perception, Plate, Shape, Colour, Sweetness, Flavour intensity, Food quality, Cross-modal, Preferences
Most people would correctly say that taste is determined
by more than just taste receptors on the tongue but they
may be surprised by the extent to which this is true. Along
with the gustatory response, it is commonly recognized
that what a food smells like (olfactory cues), how it looks
(visual cues), and how it feels in your mouth or hands
(somatosensory cues) all influence the resulting perception
of taste. However, it is not only the attributes of the food
that influence taste perception, and instead, environmen-
tal/contextual factors also greatly impact the resultant per-
ception of taste. The current study examined two factors
external to the food source, plate shape and plate colour,
for their effect on perceptual judgments of sweetness, in-
tensity, quality, and liking.
Research has shown that the manipulation of a variety
of food-specific cue types will influence various aspects of
taste perception. Olfactory cues have been shown to ma-
nipulate our perception of taste with a number of studies
having shown an enhancement of sweetness ratings in re-
sponse to pairing a food with odours usually associated
with sweetness [1-3]. Additionally, in two experiments,
Stevenson, Prescott, and Boakes [4] paired 20 different
odours with sucrose taste solutions (E1) and citric acid
taste solutions (E2). They found that odours with a strong
learned association with sweetness (for example, caramel)
enhanced sweetness ratings and suppressed sour ratings,
thereby showing the importance of learning and memory
in taste perception. In a more recent investigation,
Djordjevic, Zatorre, and Jones-Gotman [5] also found an
* Correspondence:
Psychology Program, Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of
Newfoundland, University Avenue, Corner Brook, NL A2H 6P9, Canada
© 2013 Stewart and Goss; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the
Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use,
distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Stewart and Goss Flavour 2013, 2:27
odour-induced change in taste perception (OICTP) when
they paired olfactory and gustatory stimuli. Specifically,
the smell of strawberries led to a sweetness enhancement
and a soy sauce odour increased ratings of saltiness.
The texture of food has also been shown to modify the
perceptual experience [6-8]. Cook, Hollowood, Linforth,
and Taylor [9] found that ratings of sweetness were sig-
nificantly lessened in thicker solutions. Additionally,
Walker and Prescott [10] showed that apple juice flavour
was rated less sweet in a more viscous solution. Further,
texture has been shown to directly and indirectly, via its
influence on chewing parameters, influence flavour re-
lease (see Salles et al. [11] for a review).
Shape is closely related to texture and certain attributes
of food seem to reliably share a synaesthetic relationship
with shapes. Synaesthesia is a phenomenon whereby the
stimulation of one sensory modality simultaneously pro-
duces an accompanying stimulation in a second sensory
modality. Cytowic [12] discusses a synaesthete who tasted
shapes. For this individual, an amateur chef who cooked
according to the shape of the food rather than following
any recipes, shapes had tastes and certain shapes tasted
better than others. Although synaesthesia typically refers
to a non-standard crossingof the senses, it seems that
when it comes to food we may all be synaesthetes to some
extent. Research in non-synaesthetes has shown that most
individuals have shape associations with certain food qual-
ities. For example, wines are often described as having a
rounded or pointed taste [13]. Particularly relevant to the
current study, it has also been shown that sweetness is
often associated with round shapes while bitterness and
saltiness are associated with angular shapes [14,15].
Whether this flavour-shape association extends to envir-
onmental factors external to the food source is one focus
of the current study.
Perhaps the most profound manipulation of the per-
ceptual experience is driven by visual input. Specifically,
it has been repeatedly shown that modifying the colour
of a standard food influences the taste perception of that
food [16-19]. Garber, Hyatt, and Starr [20] examined the
effect of incongruent colours (and labelling) on taste per-
ception of noncarbonated fruit drinks. By manipulating
the colour of an orange-flavoured drink (orange versus
purple versus clear) the researchers showed that partici-
pants were significantly less likely to correctly identify the
flavour if the beverage was coloured purple or clear. They
also reported an interaction between stimulus colour and
package labelling for ratings of naturalness/expensiveness.
This suggested that external factors, factors not directly
related to the food itself, can influence perception of
higher level cognitive judgments [20]. Whether this colour
influence generalises to environmental stimuli, such as the
colour of plate the food is presented on, is examined in
the current investigation.
Recently, perception research has supported that the
environment or context surrounding the food has been
shown to be a significant modulator of taste perception
[21]. Specific contextual variables include, but are not
limited to, background music [22]; the size, weight, and
composition of cutlery [23]; a products packaging [24];
colour lighting [25]; and menu item naming [26].
An additional environmental variable that has come
under recent scrutiny was plateware [27]. In two separ-
ate experiments, the researchers examined the potential
influence of plate colour (E1: black versus white) and
plate shape (E2: round versus square versus triangular)
on ratings of sweetness, intensity, quality, and liking. All
attribute ratings, except quality ratings, were shown to
be significantly increased when the strawberry mousse
was presented on white plates when compared to black
plates. However, contrary to expectations, plate shape
had no significant influence on attribute ratings. In
addition to concluding that plate colour is a significant
contributor to taste perception, the authors suggested
that the jury was still out on plate shape since their
plates may have been somewhat less angular than de-
sired due to the plate corners being rounded. Further,
Piqueras-Fiszman et al. [27] did not examine the inter-
action between plate colour and plate shape.
Like the Piqueras-Fiszman et al.studies,themajority
of research into taste perception has taken a single at-
tribute approach and only manipulated one environ-
mental variable per experiment. It has been suggested
that an important goal of future research should be
to examine the simultaneous interaction of two or
more environmental variables [21]. Continuing from the
Piqueras-Fiszman et al. work, the current study replicated
and extended the aforementioned findings using plates
with more angular corners and by employing a factorial
design. Results revealed significant interactions be-
tween plate shape and plate colour across each of the
rated attributes.
Aware that we had relatively small sample sizes in each
experimental group (n = 12), we felt it important to first
examine the experimental groupscomposition for any
pre-existing differences that may have confounded the
results. We felt that these preliminary analyses were ne-
cessary since, as stated and referenced multiple times in
the papers introduction, many variables can exert a large
influence on perception. All analyses were independent
measures analyses and were tested against an alpha level
of .05. Sample sizes, means, and standard deviations
displayed as a function of gender and plate type can be
seen in Table 1. Group composition did not significantly
differ as a function of age or gender
suggesting our
groups were well matched in terms of age and gender.
Stewart and Goss Flavour 2013, 2:27 Page 2 of 9
As a result, these variables were dropped from any fur-
ther analyses
Using two separate 2 × 2 (colour × shape) ANOVAs,
we tested if the groups differed in regard to state hun-
ger levels and in their general regard for cheesecake.
There were no significant main effects or interactions
for either dependent variable, again suggesting rela-
tively well matched groups.
Analyses of attribute ratings
Separate 2 (colour) × 2 (shape) independent measures
ANOVAs were conducted with each attribute (sweetness,
intensity, quality, and liking) as the dependent variable. All
analyses were tested at a significance level of .05 with a
Bonferroni correction applied.
Regarding sweetness ratings, there was a significant
main effect of colour with samples on white plates being
rated as sweeter than those on black plates, F(1, 44) =
8.42, P<.05, η
= .16, but there was no main effect of
plate shape. Most importantly however, was the presence
of a significant colour × shape interaction, F(1, 44) =
6.70, P<.05, η
= .13. This interaction suggested that
round white plates were rated significantly sweeter than
square white plates (t(22) = 3.04, P<.05) while there was
no difference between the plate shapes for black plates
(see Figure 1a).
For food intensity ratings, both the colour and shape
main effects were significant; however, the significant
interaction, F(1,44) = 9.72, P<.05, η
= .18, between the
variables seemed to qualify the main effects. As with
sweetness ratings, when compared to round black and
square white plates, intensity ratings were significantly
higher for round white plates, t(22) = 4.12, P<.05 and
t(22) = 4.01, P<.05 respectively (see Figure 1b).
There were no significant main effects for either colour
or shape on ratings of quality however, there was a signifi-
cant interaction, F(1, 44) = 13.30, P<.05, η
hoc tests revealed that three of the four pairings were sig-
nificant (round white versus round black: t(22) = 3.28;
round white versus square white: t(22) = 2.61; round black
versus square black: t(22) = 2.55) and the fourth pairing
(square white versus square black: t(22) = 1.84, P=.08)
approached significance (see Figure 1c).
Similar to quality ratings, there were no main effects
of liking ratings but there was a significant interaction, F
(1, 44) = 7.29, P<.05, η
= .14 (see Figure 1d). Post hoc
tests revealed a significant colour effect for round plates
(t(22) = 2.10) and a significant shape effect for black
plates (t(22) = 2.43). The two other comparisons did
not reach statistical significance (square white versus
square black: P= .09; round white versus square white:
P= .12).
Table 1 Group characteristics and attribute descriptive statistics as a function of plate colour, plate shape, and
participant gender (n = 48)
Variable White round White square Black round Black square
n (N = 27) 6894
Age (years) 20.50 (2.20) 20.50 (2.20) 21.44 (5.48) 20.50 (3.70)
Sweetness (%) 77.50 (10.60) 55.04 (13.24) 49.46 (13.60) 63.31 (10.35)
Intensity (%) 77.87 (14.38) 38.37 (20.05) 47.49 (21.12) 50.81 (20.60)
Quality (%) 82.62 (21.78) 70.30 (20.50) 66.61 (18.98) 70.43 (18.95)
Liking of sample (%) 85.48 (24.38) 70.09 (24.62) 71.92 (12.42) 87.50 (8.34)
Hunger (%) 44.27 (16.71) 53.43 (22.24) 45.88 (19.08) 65.32 (26.75)
Liking in general (%) 85.93 (11.60) 59.81 (19.20) 71.15 (21.31) 77.96 (19.98)
n (N = 21) 6438
Age (years) 23.67 (6.77) 20.75 (0.96) 19.67 (2.52) 27.63 (13.00)
Sweetness (%) 68.37 (18.27) 59.41 (7.04) 55.38 (16.83) 51.21 (17.24)
Intensity (%) 72.96 (21.44) 58.33 (20.03) 45.70 (21.28) 50.94 (24.37)
Quality (%) 93.01 (9.52) 68.95 (7.32) 61.82 (5.13) 87.37 (9.10)
Liking of sample (%) 87.99 (13.64) 77.28 (23.84) 76.52 (14.03) 86.63 (18.47)
Hunger (%) 30.01 (29.28) 56.32 (31.18) 42.65 (7.83) 38.64 (32.62)
Liking in general (%) 96.33 (4.69) 81.18 (16.87) 78.49 (7.11) 91.47 (14.00)
Total N=48
Stewart and Goss Flavour 2013, 2:27 Page 3 of 9
The potential influences of hunger and general regard for
Moskowitz et al. [28] showed that after a satiating intake
of a glucose load, participantsratings of pleasantness for
subsequently presented sweet stimuli differed from par-
ticipants who were sated from a standard breakfast or
lunch. Although the current study did not gather very
specific hunger-related information, to control for gen-
eral hunger effects, we did collect a rating of state hun-
ger. We also collected data pertaining to how much
people generally liked cheesecake since it seemed likely
that people who like a particular food will rate it differ-
ently than those who dislike the food or like it to a lesser
extent. To examine these possibilities we conducted 2 × 2
analyses of covariance (ANCOVA) using ratings of hun-
ger and general regard cheesecake as separate covariates
for each of the four attributes (sweetness, liking, qual-
ity, and liking).
Neither self-reported levels of hunger nor levels of
general cheesecake regard were significant covariates in
analyses of sweetness or quality (P>.05). However, both
hunger levels and cheesecake regard levels were signifi-
cant covariates when intensity ratings were analysed.
With that said, and importantly, the interaction between
plate colour and plate shape on intensity ratings
remained significant when accounting for hunger levels,
F(1, 43) = 8.65, P<.05. When accounting for variance in
intensity ratings due to general cheesecake regard, the
interaction between plate shape and colour, F(1, 43) =
2.66, P= .11, was no longer significant although both
main effects remained significant.
Interestingly, the strong interaction observed between
plate colour and plate shape on liking ratings of the
cheesecake sample was not influenced by the inclusion
of hunger as a covariate but was completely nullified by
the inclusion of participantsgeneral regard for cheese-
cake as a covariate, F(1, 43) = .45, Pco.51. This suggests
that it is quite important to account for personal taste
when analysing data of this sort.
The current investigation examined the influence that
plate shape and colour may have on the perceived sweet-
ness, intensity, quality, and liking of a portion of cheese-
cake. It has been shown in the past that there is a white
plate (over black) advantage but that plate shape did not
significantly modulate attribute ratings [27]. Results of
the current study, specifically the significant or near
Figure 1 Significant plate colour by plate shape interactions on each of the attribute ratings. (a) Sweetness ratings: Food eaten on white
round plates was rated significantly sweeter than that eaten on white square plates. (b) Intensity ratings: Food eaten from white round plates
was rated significantly more intense than that eaten on white square plates. (c) Quality ratings: Food eaten on white round plates and black
square plates was rated of significantly higher quality than that eaten on white square and black round plates. (d) Liking ratings: Food eaten on
white round plates and black square plates was liked significantly more than that eaten on white square and black round plates. However, after
considering participantsgeneral regard for cheesecake, this interaction for liking ratings was negated.
Stewart and Goss Flavour 2013, 2:27 Page 4 of 9
significant interactions across all attributes, suggest that
both plate shape and plate colour are important but also
that the relationship is anything but straightforward.
We have chosen to discuss these findings in terms of
elemental versus compound judgments. By a compound
judgment (for example, a judgment about quality or lik-
ing) we are referring to a higher level, gestalt judgment
that is made by considering a number of individual
elemental judgments (that is, judgments of sweetness,
intensity, look, smell, etcetera) in order to come to what
Delwiche [29] referred to as an emergent phenomenon.
For example, when a quality judgment is made about a
particular food, it seems likely that the final perception
emerges from a combination of the look, smell, taste,
context, and other elemental properties of the food. It is
important to note that we are by no means suggesting
that an elemental judgment is done on the basis of only
one sensory modality; the background of this paper
already suggested this is almost certainly not the case.
We are rather saying that there are far fewer modalities
involved with an elemental judgment than with a com-
pound judgment. That is, people almost certainly judged
sweetness by interpreting gustatory, visual, and olfactory
input but it is less likely that quality or liking consider-
ations factored into a sweetness rating. With that said, it
is possible that there is an entirely nested reciprocal rela-
tionship between all these factors and future research
could determine the validity of this possibility.
As can be seen in Figure 1(a,b), for elemental judg-
ments (that is, sweetness and intensity) there was a clear
white round plate enhancement suggesting that food
served on this shape and colour plate leads to an in-
crease in perceived sweetness and intensity. Although
this needs to be extended to include different foods and
plate attributes, this perceptual difference may have ben-
efits to the food industry. We saw an approximate 20%
increase in perceived sweetness and a 30% rating in-
crease in intensity when food was served on a white
round plate. Perhaps an unsweetened or less sweet des-
sert when served on a white round plate would be better
received than if it was served on a plate of a different
colour and shape. Anecdotally, diabetics often complain
that the only desserts they can eat do not taste sweet
enough or taste bad due to the artificial sweeteners used.
Potentially, the combination of a low sugar dessert on a
white round plate would lead an improvement in the
overall perception. Conversely, a common foodstuff that
may be viewed as being too sweet could be served on a
square white plate or a black plate to possibly dampen
the perceived sweetness.
The results show a somewhat different story for com-
pound judgments (that is, quality and liking). Figure 1 (c,d)
shows that although there is still a white round plate
advantage for ratings of quality and liking, there is also
an advantage for square black plates. Since the partici-
pantsgeneral liking of cheesecake seemed to explain
the interaction effect observed for liking ratings, we
limit our further discussion to the quality interaction.
We contend that the white round plate advantage in
quality judgments is being driven by elemental judg-
ments that are perceptually increased by white round
plates. For example, in this study we have shown that
perceived sweetness and intensity are increased by the
presentation of food on white round plates and it seems
possible, if not likely, that other factors that were not
measured in this experiment also show this white
round plate preference. Quality being a compound
judgment would be the sum of these elemental judg-
ments and the end result would be a more positive
quality judgment for food presented on white round
plates. We further contend that this is a likely explan-
ation for the square black plate advantage also obtained
for judgments of quality. According to the Ecological
Valence Theory (EVT), in regard to colour, our prefer-
ence for a particular colour is determined by a sum
total of our past experience with that colour, experience
not necessarily specific to the object currently being
perceived [30]. Humans tend to prefer colours that
summon implicitly positive cognitive associations while
disliking colours that spur the opposite. It seems rea-
sonable that this would also extend to and combine
with shape, although we are aware of no studies dir-
ectly assessing this. Perhaps square black objects and
white round objects have positive connotations when it
comes to assessments of quality. Although this notion
has yet to be extended to food, Schloss, Strauss, and
Palmer [31] found that pure black (or white) T-shirts,
dress shirts, ties/scarves, and squares were preferred
over any shade of grey and that black ties/scarves were
preferred. They suggested that for many objects people
preferred subdued colours rather than flashy colours
and that this preference was likely determined from ex-
perience with the object and/or colour. It is important
to also consider that black is often seen and used in adver-
tising to denote sophistication, luxuriousness, elegance,
and quality. However, these potential associations with
blackness do not aid in much in the explanation of black
square plates. With that said, we suggest that the black
square plate advantage in quality judgments may be due
to the sum total of experience driven preferences. It would
be interesting for future research to try and tease apart
this plate effect using the EVT methodologies.
It is also possible that something as simple as the de-
gree of familiarity is influencing participant attribute rat-
ings. It seems likely that of the four plate types, white
round plates are the most familiar and black square
plates are the most novel. Sheau-Fen, Sun-May, and
Yu-Ghee [32] found that higher levels of familiarity were
Stewart and Goss Flavour 2013, 2:27 Page 5 of 9
positively related with higher levels of perceived quality
for a number of store brand consumer items. An op-
posing finding, yet actually complimentary for our pur-
poses, is that consumer items that were judged to be
unique or novel due to minor manipulations are judged
as more desirable than the typical item [33]. Further-
more, Bornstein [34] concluded that although it is gen-
erally reproductively advantageous to prefer the typical
to the novel it is at times advantageous (that is, during
child development) to favour novel stimuli. Marrying
these ideas together, the enhanced ratings observed for
the food eaten from the white plates may be the result
of familiarity while the obtained quality and liking en-
hancements for the black square plates may be due to
novelty effects.
It is also known that the order in which participants
complete questionnaire items can influence their answers
to the questions. Malhotra [35] showed that ratings on
simple questions, questions that are not challenging and
take little effort, were susceptible to order effects. Since all
participants in this study completed the attribute ratings
in the same order (that is, sweetness followed by intensity
followed by quality followed by liking), it is possible that
each subsequent rating was influenced by the previous
leaving sweetness ratings the only purely independent rat-
ing of the four. Without replicating the experiment we
cannot know what effect this would have on the current
data. However, because this was a between-subjects design
and participants only viewed one plate type, there is no
reason to predict that any potential order effect would be
different for the black square group compared to any
other group but future investigations may benefit from an
order counterbalancing or randomization of rating items.
Although the square and round plates were of identical
widths, the surface area of the round plates (572 cm
was less than the square plates (729 cm
). Since the di-
mensions of our cake sample were consistent and we
didfindawhiteround plate enhancement across all
ratings and a black square enhancement for quality and
liking ratings, it is possible that both were surface
area effects. Our data cannot rule out this possibility.
Although a previous study by Rolls et al.[36]showed
that food consumption was not different when served
on plates of different sizes, this finding is not specific
to taste judgments.
Finally, as previously stated, the Piqueras-Fiszman et
al. [27] study reported no effect of plate shape on ratings
of a strawberry mousse whereas the current study re-
ports a new finding, a significant plate colour by plate
shape interaction for all attributes. We have already
mentioned a number of possible explanations for the
pattern of results observed but it is important to address
why a shape influence is observed in this study but not
the previous [27]. Three reasons stand out for this. First,
the authors of the previously mentioned study suggested
that their square plates were rounded at the corners
leading to a softening of any possible shape influences.
We used square plates that had much sharper points at
the corners. Perhaps the effect of shape would have been
observed in the Piqueras-Fiszman et al. study if plates
similar to our own were used [27]. Second, the manifest-
ation of a shape effect in the current study could be
because the food sample we used was different. The
multisensory influences discussed may be food specific
and where the previous authors used strawberry mousse,
we used cheesecake. This food stuff difference alone
may be enough to explain the shape influence observed
here but it could also be a function of the shape of the
food, the colour of the food, or some interaction of these
variables. Lyman [37] suggested that taste perception
may be influenced by figure-ground (that is, food-plate)
contrasts. That is, perceptions of taste may vary between
foods of different colours, especially when served on dif-
ferent colour plates. Parallel possibilities may also exist
for shape variables. As such, the differences in findings
between Piqueras-Fiszman et al. [27] and the current
study might be explained by these contrast differences.
The different results may be due to their mousse sam-
ples being a different colour (reddish) and presented in a
different shape (half sphere or pyramidal) than our
cheesecake sample (yellowish and cylindrical). Future re-
search might systematically vary the food (or plate)
colour/shape to investigate the influence of simultaneous
contrast on taste perception. Finally, a third possibility is
that the interactions we observed in our study may have
been observed in the Piqueras-Fiszman et al. study had
they been evaluated [27].
The results of this experiment suggest that the influence
of plate colour and shape on taste perception is, not sur-
prisingly, more complex than expected. There appears to
be a substantial white round plate advantage although,
black square plates have their place also. It seems that
basic judgments (that is, sweetness or intensity) are en-
hanced by white round plates while more complex judg-
ments (that is, quality or liking) are enhanced by both
white round and black square plates. We suggest that this
may be due to specific learned associations or some sort
of familiarity/novelty effect.
Regardless of what is driving this effect, the knowledge
that plate shape and plate colour do interact to influence
taste perceptions is important to the culinary industry.
Chefs certainly want their food to taste a certain way.
Knowing that food presented on a white round plate will
be perceived as sweeter, for example, would allow them
to modify the sweetness levels of their product such that
the desired level of perceived sweetness is achieved.
Stewart and Goss Flavour 2013, 2:27 Page 6 of 9
A total of 48 individuals (27 males and 21 females), ran-
ging in age from 16 to 54 years old (M= 22.23, SD =
6.68), volunteered to participate in the study. Genders
did not differ in age, t(46) = 1.70, P>.05. All partici-
pants voluntarily stopped by two tables set up in the
university cafeteria and initially completed a standard in-
formed consent process which additionally involved
reporting any food- or ingredient-related allergies. An
ingredient list was made available to participants but, for
safety reasons, any participant who reported a food-
related allergy was thanked for their interest but not per-
mitted to take part in the study. This study received eth-
ics approval from the Grenfell Campus, Memorial
University Research Ethics Board.
Presidents Choice (PC) pre-packaged Original New
York style cheesecake was used as the food stimulus. It
was presented in a cylindrical fashion, with each portion
cut to the same size (6.5 cm in diameter) via a biscuit
cutter. Black and white porcelain plates of circular and
square shapes were used along with tablecloths, napkins,
and plastic spoons. Although the overall surface area
was greater for the square plates, keeping the diameter/
width of the round and square plates equal (27 cm) was
thought to be more important (see Figure 2). With that
said, the proportion of surface area covered by food has
been shown to play a role in perception and should po-
tentially be controlled for in future studies [38].
A questionnaire, adapted from Piqueras-Fiszman et al.
[27], was used to gather information on participants
perceptions of the cheesecake sampled. Responses to
questions regarding sweetness, intensity, quality, and lik-
ing were made on unstructured 10 cm scales, each an-
chored with Not at all sweet,Not at all intense,Very
low quality, and Extremely dislikeon the left ends,
and Very sweet,Very intense,Very high quality, and
Extremely likeon the right ends. Participants were re-
quired to place an Xon each scale wherever they
thought best represented their experience of the food
sampled. Two further questions assessed participants
hunger at the time of the study and their general regard
for cheesecake. Responses to these were also made on
unstructured scales but were anchored with Extremely
hungryand Extremely dislikeon the left, and Ex-
tremely fulland Extremely likeon the right. Participant
age and gender were also recorded.
One round table was used to present the questionnaires
and copies of the informed consent form while the sec-
ond table, which was covered in a transparent plastic
Figure 2 The four plate types.
Stewart and Goss Flavour 2013, 2:27 Page 7 of 9
tablecloth, presented the samples to be tasted. Data were
collected in blocks with each block consisting of four
plates corresponding to one of the four conditions. Each
block was repeated three times, in a pseudo-random
order, for a total of 12 trials per plate condition. The
four plates were spaced equally apart on the half of the
table opposite of the researcher and the circular portion
of cheesecake was situated in the centre of each plate
(see Figure 3).
Volunteer participants were asked whether they pos-
sessed any food-related allergies and if they did not, they
were invited to begin the experiment by completing an
informed consent process. The true nature of the study
was withheld from participants until the debriefing ses-
sion and instead participants were told they would take
part in a taste test. At no point during their participation
were subjects aware that this was a taste perception
study comparing plate colour and shape. Participants
were then seated at the table in front of one of the four
plates and were instructed to not touch the plate and
to refrain from conversing with other participants. As
the cheesecake had a layer of graham crumbs as its low-
est layer, with the rest of the cake composition being
uniform, the participants were instructed to taste one
spoonful from the top of the sample using the spoon
provided. Participants then immediately completed the
questionnaire and were then permitted to finish their
cheesecake. Once the questionnaire was completed, par-
ticipants were given a second copy of the informed
consent form to keep for their own records, and a
debriefing form explaining the true purpose of the study
was provided. Any questions they had were answered
and they were told how/when they could obtain the
group results of the experiment. To avoid biasing any
other potential participants, all participants were asked
to not discuss, for a period of three days, the true nature
of the study with incoming participants or anyone else
who may participate.
A 2 × 2 analysis of variance (ANOVA), with plate
shape and plate colour as factors and age as the
dependent variable, revealed no significant interaction or
main effects. Further, age was not significantly correlated
with any dependent variable. Both analyses suggested
that the groups were well matched for age, and that age,
at least within the age range measured here, seemed to
not be predictive of judgments of sweetness, intensity,
quality, or liking. We also examined if the groups dif-
fered in composition with regard to gender. Two chi-
square tests, one for each plate colour, examined any
relationship between plate shape and gender. There was
no significant relationship observed for white plates
suggesting similar gender compositions across plate shape
conditions. However, for black plates a significant relation-
ship was found between plate shape and gender, χ2=4.20,
P<.05, with significantly more females in the black square
condition compared to the black circle condition. To fur-
ther assess if gender was influencing the attribute ratings
we again conducted ANCOVAs, using gender as a covari-
ate, for each of the four attributes. Gender was not a
significant covariate for any of the analyses (P>.05),
suggesting that the gender difference in group composi-
tions did not confound the obtained results.
Competing interests
The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest, financially or
PS conceived of the study, participated equally with EG in the study design
and data analysis, and drafted/revised the manuscript. EG completed the
data collection and aided in the initial stages of manuscript preparation. All
authors have read and approved the final manuscript.
The authors appreciate the support of Grenfell Campus, Memorial University
of Newfoundland for the funding used to purchase study materials and for
allotting space in the university cafeteria. The authors also wish to thank all
participants who volunteered to complete the study and the anonymous
reviewers who aided in manuscript preparation.
Received: 14 June 2013 Accepted: 4 October 2013
Published: 25 October 2013
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Cite this article as: Stewart and Goss: Plate shape and colour interact to
influence taste and quality judgments. Flavour 2013 2:27.
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Stewart and Goss Flavour 2013, 2:27 Page 9 of 9
... Previous studies have found that consumer perception and acceptance of food or beverage samples change with environmental contexts, ranging from macro-level variables (e.g., geographical location, eating place, or climate) to micro-level variables (e.g., table setting, cutlery items, ambient lighting, or background sound) . Notably, as shown in Figure 1, previous studies have demonstrated variations in consumer perception or acceptance of food or beverage samples as functions of utensil factors, such as colors [7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17], shapes [8,13,15,[18][19][20], sizes [8,17,21], surface textures [22][23][24], materials [25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33], weights [8,11,34], and decorations [35][36][37]. For example, Tu et al. [16] demonstrated that food served on a red plate was perceived as spicier than that served on a white or green plate. ...
... Previous studies have found that consumer perception and acceptance of food or beverage samples change with environmental contexts, ranging from macro-level variables (e.g., geographical location, eating place, or climate) to micro-level variables (e.g., table setting, cutlery items, ambient lighting, or background sound) . Notably, as shown in Figure 1, previous studies have demonstrated variations in consumer perception or acceptance of food or beverage samples as functions of utensil factors, such as colors [7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17], shapes [8,13,15,[18][19][20], sizes [8,17,21], surface textures [22][23][24], materials [25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33], weights [8,11,34], and decorations [35][36][37]. For example, Tu et al. [16] demonstrated that food served on a red plate was perceived as spicier than that served on a white or green plate. ...
... Figure 1. Summary of previous studies regarding the effects of utensil variables on consume ception, acceptance, and behavior to food: colors [7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17], shapes [8,13,15,[18][19][20], sizes [8,17,21 face textures [22][23][24], materials [25][26][27][28][29][30][31][32][33], weights [8,11,34], and decorations [35][36][37]. The ima utensils was adapted with permission from ref. [42]. ...
Full-text available
Sensory professionals are looking for alternative ways to conduct laboratory sensory testing, especially central location testing (CLT), during the COVID-19 pandemic. One way could be conducting CLTs at home (i.e., in-home testing). It is questionable whether food samples under in-home testing should be presented in uniform utensils, as it does so under laboratory sensory testing. This study aimed to determine whether utensil conditions could affect consumer perception and acceptance of food samples evaluated under in-home testing. Sixty-eight participants (40 females and 28 males) prepared chicken-flavored ramen noodle samples and evaluated them for attribute perception and acceptance, under two utensil conditions, using either their utensils (“Personal”) or uniform utensils provided (“Uniform”). Participants also rated their liking of forks/spoons, bowls, and eating environments, respectively, and attentiveness to sensory evaluation under each utensil condition. Results of the in-home testing showed that participants liked ramen noodle samples and their flavors under the “Personal” condition significantly more than under the “Uniform” condition. Ramen noodle samples evaluated under the “Uniform” condition were significantly higher in terms of saltiness than those evaluated under the “Personal” condition. Participants liked forks/spoons, bowls, and eating environments used under the “Personal” condition significantly more than those used under the “Uniform” condition. While overall likings of ramen noodle samples, evaluated under the “Personal” condition, significantly increased with an increase in hedonic ratings of forks/spoons or bowls, such significant correlations were not observed under the “Uniform” condition. In other words, providing uniform utensils (forks, spoons, and bowls) to participants in the in-home testing can reduce the influences of utensils on consumer likings of ramen noodle samples evaluated at home. In conclusion, this study suggests that sensory professionals should consider providing uniform utensils when they want to focus solely on consumer perception and acceptance of food samples by minimizing influences of environmental contexts, especially utensils, in the “in-home” testing.
... This interest in, and inquisitiveness about, taste (and flavor) correspondences has often been driven by a combination of artistic curiosity and commercial incentives, especially in the case of the relationship between tastes and visual features, such as shapes and colors (Mick, 1986;Nelson & Hitchon, 1999). For instance, by making appropriate reference to these connections, marketers working with the food and beverage industry have wondered whether they might be able to develop more persuasive product presentations (e.g., Piqueras-Fiszman et al., 2012;Spence, 2021a;Spence & Youssef, 2019;Stewart & Goss, 2013). The core idea here is to try and create designs that are congruent with consumer expectations, which can hence be processed more fluently, and will thus likely lead to a more positive impression of the product (product experience) as a whole (Vogel et al., 2021). ...
... At the same time, however, these correspondences have also been observed at a perceptual level, such as between color patches and actual tastants (e.g., Saluja & Stevenson, 2018;Velasco et al., 2015b;Velasco et al., 2016a). When manipulated appropriately, the presentation of visual stimuli has even been shown to modify people's expectations and perception of gustatory stimuli (e.g., Liang et al., 2016;Stewart & Goss, 2013;Velasco et al., 2018a). The latest developments in this literature have tended to focus on analyzing the validity of those theories that account for relevant correspondences (e.g., Higgins & Hayes, 2019;Whiteford et al., 2018), that have identified several factors potentially mediating crossmodal associations (Spence & Levitan, 2021). ...
... In a dining environment, the appraisal of certain combinations of color and shape has shown signs that such arrangements are potentially being processed fluently. Stewart and Goss (2013) found the shape and color of the plate to have a significant interaction effect on the liking and perceived sweetness of the food on the plate. Curiously, their results showed that food on the black and square plate received a similar rating (if not higher in some cases) of hedonic value than the same food served on the white and round plate. ...
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People tend to associate abstract visual features with basic taste qualities. This narrative historical review critically evaluates the literature on these associations, often referred to as crossmodal correspondences, between basic tastes and visual design features such as color hue and shape curvilinearity. The patterns, discrepancies, and evolution in the development of the research are highlighted while the mappings that have been reported to date are summarized. The review also reflects on issues of cross-cultural validity and deviations in the matching patterns that are observed when correspondences are assessed with actual tastants versus with verbal stimuli. The various theories that have been proposed to account for different classes of crossmodal correspondence are discussed, among which the statistical and affective (or emotional-mediation) accounts currently appear most promising. Several critical research questions for the future are presented to address the gaps that have been identified in the literature and help validate the popular theories on the origin and operations of visual-taste correspondences.
... While the focus in this review has been on the color of food and drink itself, an emerging literature has highlighted the significant impact of background color, be it of plateware, glassware, or food packaging (e.g., Baptista et al., 2021;Fateminia et al., 2018;Huang & Lu, 2015;Kovač et al., 2019;Lyman, 1989;Merlo et al., 2018;Sugimori & Kawasaki, 2022;van Esch et al., 2019;Velasco et al., 2014), on the tasting experience (see Spence & Velasco [2018 for reviews). So, for example, serving desserts on white plates has been shown to enhance perceived sweetness when compared to serving the same dessert from a black plate Stewart & Goss, 2013). Meanwhile, Taiwanese researchers have demonstrated that serving spicy tofu off a red plate results in people reporting it as tasting spicier than when served on a white, yellow, or green plate instead (Tu et al., 2016). ...
While there has long been public concern over the use of artificial/synthetic food colors, it should be remembered that food and drink products (e.g., red wine) have been purposefully colored for millennia. This narrative historical review highlights a number of reasons that food and drink have been colored, including to capture the shopper's visual attention through to signaling the likely taste/flavor. Over the course of the last century, there has, on occasion, also been interest in the playful, or sometimes even deliberately discombobulating, use of food coloring by modernist chefs and others. The coloring (or absence of color) of food and drink can, though, sometimes also take on more of a symbolic meaning, and, in a few cases, specific food colors may acquire a signature, or branded (i.e., semantic) association. That said, with food color being associated with so many different potential "meanings," it is an open question as to which meaning the consumer will associate with any given instance of color in food, and what role context may play in their decision. Laboratory-based sensory science research may not necessarily successfully capture the full range of meanings that may be associated with food color in the mind of the consumer. Nevertheless, it seems likely that food color will continue to play an important role in dictating consumer behavior in the years to come, even though the visual appearance of food is increasingly being mediated via technological means, including virtual and augmented reality.
... Also, the weight, size, shape and colour of cutlery used to eat can modulate food taste (Harrar and Spence, 2013) and eating experiences (Michel et al., 2015). For instance, the material of spoons can modulate the taste attributes of cream (Piqueras-Fiszman et al., 2012b) and yogurt (Piqueras-Fiszman and Spence, 2011), the shape and colour of plates can influence the sweetness and intensity of a desert (Piqueras-Fiszman et al., 2012a;Stewart and Goss, 2013), and the shape features of food packages may influence the customer taste expectation (Velasco et al., 2016). Particularly, prior studies show that the shapes associated with food affect people's expectations of taste, often using experimental paradigms such as the Kiki-Bouba effect (Köhler, 1940). ...
Full-text available
Taste perception is influenced by sensory information not only about the food itself but also about the external environment where the food is tasted. Prior studies have shown that both visual attributes of the environment (e.g., light colour, location) and the shape associated to food (e.g., plates, cutlery) can influence people's taste perception and expectations. However, previous studies are typically based on non-edible shapes usually shown as 2D images or presented as 3D tangible objects aimed to be perceived by subjects' hand. Therefore, the effect of mouthfeel of differently shaped foods on taste perception remains unclear. Capitalising on the advantages of virtual reality (VR) to manipulate multisensory features, we explore the effects of coloured (red, blue, neutral) virtual environments on the taste (sweet, neutral) perception of differently shaped taste samples (rounded/spiky shapes according to the Kiki-Bouba paradigm). Overall, our results showed increased ratings of sweetness when participants tasted Bouba-shaped samples (rounded) relative to Kiki-shaped samples (spiky) suggesting that tactile attributes perceived inside the mouth can influence sweetness perception. Furthermore, we concluded that lighting colour in a virtual setting might dampen experiences of sweetness. However, this effect may only be present when there is a cross-modal correspondence with taste. Based on our findings, we conclude by describing considerations for designing eating experiences in VR.
... The enhanced liking of rounded shapes has been documented in various industries and fields of research, such as the design of typeface (Kastl & Child, 1968), logos (Jiang et al., 2016), cars (Leder & Carbon, 2005), toys (Jadva et al., 2010), as well as a range of other everyday objects (Bar & Neta, 2006;Ghoshal et al., 2015). With respect to taste, it has been demonstrated that people tend to evaluate food presented on rounded plates as tasting sweeter, whereas the basic tastes of bitter, sour, and salty are typically associated with angular shapes (Fairhurst et al., 2015;Stewart & Goss, 2013;Velasco et al., 2015; though see also Piqueras-Fiszman et al., 2012; for a study where the shape of the plate failed to modulate people's appreciation of the food that was placed on it). The sweet-round correspondence extends beyond the realm of taste perception: Rounded furniture and even environments may also prime sweetness (Spence, 2020b). ...
Full-text available
Rounded shapes, which have been shown to enhance sweetness, were compared to the perfectly symmetrical Platonic solids. In a first online experiment, participants were presented with a rotating three-dimensional geometric shape (a sphere, the five Platonic solids, and three irregular angular/rounded/naturalistic controls), and indicated their liking for the shape, as well as its perceived hardness, and its expected temperature. The sphere was liked best, followed by the Platonic solids. The sphere was also evaluated as softest, and received the warmest temperature ratings. By contrast, the Platonic solids were rated as harder and significantly colder than the sphere. Experiment 2 investigated whether the liked shapes were also evaluated as looking tastier. Ratings of expected tastiness and the appearance of five shapes selected based on high liking scores and fitted with edible and inedible visual textures were recorded. The sphere was rated as looking tastiest, with edible-textured rounded shapes resulting in significantly tastier ratings. Experiment 3 assessed the taste corresponding to each shape. A sweet and umami preference for rounded shapes was documented, with sour and bitter typically matched to angular shapes. Importantly, the Platonic solids were associated with several tastes. These findings are explained in terms of current theories of crossmodal correspondences, while considering how temperature and texture can be used to modulate expected liking.
Honey is one of the important elements of the human diet. Chestnut honey has a special place among other honeys due to its health benefits and is considered a functional food. In this study, the use and importance of chestnut honey, which is a valuable product, in terms of gastronomic aspects in Türkiye and in the world, has been researched by scanning social media and internet resources and critical points that should be considered from the right raw material supply to the product design and presentation with a holistic approach in order to increase the usage areas are mentioned. For this purpose, total antioxidant (TAS), total oxidant (TOS) and oxidative stress indices (OSI) were evaluated in chestnut honey samples obtained from different regions of our country. In the analysis, it was determined that the highest antioxidant potential was found in Bursa-Kurşunlu province, and the lowest antioxidant potential was found in the samples obtained from Kastamonu-Fakaz province. According to the results obtained, it has been observed that the antioxidant effective compounds in honey vary according to geographical regions and the antioxidant potential of chestnut honey is high in general. In addition, it has been determined that the gastronomic use of chestnut honey is limited compared to abroad. It is thought that factors such as product shape, consistency, plate color, presentation style that may affect the sense of taste can be utilized in product design.
The present study investigates the role of virtual contextual information, including also affective information, in gustatory perception of crisps (fried potato chips). In a first preliminary experiment we evaluated the association among three Augmented Reality animations (a pear-like character jumping a rope, a black-and-white cartoon character, a Venus flytrap carnivorous plant) and a different series of feelings and emotional states (i.e., cheerfulness, sadness, anger, aggressiveness, fear, anxiety, disgust, surprise, shame, tiredness, boredom). In a second experiment the participants evaluated the gustatory perception of three different kinds of chips on several dimensions (e.g., pleasantness, crispiness, healthiness, purchase intention) by using visual analogue scales. The chips were presented within an Augmented Reality environment where the animations evaluated in Experiment 1 were placed close to the serving plate. The results of our study demonstrated that the chips tasted with the pear-like character animation (categorized as cheerful in Experiment 1) were judged as healthier than those tasted with black-and-white (i.e., sad) and Venus flytrap character animations, (i.e., aggressive). Moreover, people's purchase intentions were higher with the pear-like character animation, as compared to the black-and-white character animation. These results showed that the context created by AR can affect participants ‘food perception across several dimensions.
This study focuses on the cross‐modal correspondence of perception of spiciness produced by the two attributes of color saturation and roughness of hot sauce. There are four experiments in total: Experiment 1 investigated whether red hot sauce generates the strongest expected spiciness after expanding the color selection; Experiment 2 considers the effects of both hot sauce color saturation and roughness attributes on expected spiciness; Experiment 3 explored how different information processing channels affect expected spiciness; and Experiment 4 investigated whether saturation and roughness further affect the actual perceived spiciness and how different information processing channels affect actual spiciness. Results showed that after selecting seven colors, red hot sauce still generates the strongest expected spiciness. Higher saturation of hot sauce color and roughness of the sauce also lead to stronger, expected spiciness. In addition, different processing channels had different effects on saturation and roughness. In expected spiciness, visual processing is an important boundary condition for both attributes, leading to higher expected spiciness. However, in actual perceived spiciness, visual processing is an important boundary condition that leads to higher actual perceived spiciness, though roughness does not have this effect. Hot sauce is a common condiment, widely used in food preparation around the world. This study offers important ideas for product and package design of spicy foods, showing how the product itself and its package design can affect consumers' expected and actual perceived spiciness. Manufacturers of spicy food, restaurants, and supermarkets can use these ideas to differentiate saturation, roughness, and package size in product and package design to produce different expected and actual perceived spiciness cross‐modal correspondences to promote sales. Saturation and roughness affect the perception of spiciness. Higher saturation and roughness of the hot sauce lead to higher expected and actual perceived spiciness. Visual and tactile processing enhance the roles of saturation and roughness.
Qualitative assessment refers to conditions where wines are assessed primarily on the characteristics typically associated with a wine’s provenance, or stylistic or varietal attributes. Although wine competitions imply objectivity, the results suggest otherwise. In addition, one of the principal goals of commercial tasting is to promote sales and media exposure. Thus, the semblance of objectivity is adequate. Although seeming a damning indictment, human perception is so idiosyncratic, almost no two consumer preferences will be identical. Ranking and wine descriptions tell more about the preferences of the provider(s) than the wine. Acknowledging this situation should free consumers to select wines on personal criteria, unfettered by the opinions of others. What wine courses and societies have the potential to do is permit members to gain experience with a wide range of wines, finding their own preferences and confidence to assess on their own. Where desired, the experience gained could be used to develop memory models for the characteristics of the varieties, styles of wine preferred. For those who love wine, focused attention on a wine’s sensory pleasures can enhance one’s quality of life.
In the present experiment, the participants tasted high‐intensive bitter and low‐intensive bitter beverages under one of the following four conditions: drinking green tea or coffee in either a Japanese or a Western environment. The participants evaluated the beverage and the environment. The results revealed the following interactions. (1) Given the combination of the intensive bitter coffee and the Western environment, the beverage and environment congruency facilitated the beverage evaluations for “Deliciousness” and “Wanting to drink more”. (2) Women tended to evaluate beverages as more delicious and desired when the beverages matched the environment, compared with when they did not match. (3) Participants who drank coffee perceived the environment to be colder than participants who drank green tea. These results indicate that the social and cultural background of the Japanese consuming a beverage may modulate multisensory interaction in the evaluation of a beverage and the environment. Our findings in this research revealed that persons involved in the design of the eating and drinking environment, that is from restaurant managers, architects, and interior designers to persons who think about the dining room at their home, may produce tastier food consumption by designing the environment in a multisensory way. For example, when designing space to serve foods and beverages that have cultural elements, creating a cultural environment that is congruent with the foods may result in a better eating experience. Since multisensory influences on the deliciousness of food can be affected by the social and cultural background of the consumer, the aforementioned people need to have a sufficient understanding of the object persons they serving the meal.
Full-text available
Currently little is known about how the non-edible items associated with eating and drinking (tableware items such as the plates, bowls, cutlery, glasses, bottles, condiment containers, etc.), or even environmental factors (such as the lighting and/or background music), affect people’s perception of foodstuffs. Here, we review the latest evidence demonstrating the importance of these contextual variables on the consumer’s behavioural and hedonic response to, and sensory perception of, a variety of food and drink items. These effects are explained by a combination of psychological factors (high level attributes, such as perceived quality, that may be mediating the effects under consideration), perceptual factors (such as the Ebbinghaus-Titchener size-contrast illusion and colour contrast in the case of the colour of the plateware affecting taste/flavour perception), and physiological-chemical factors (such as differences in the release of volatile organic compounds from differently-shaped wine glasses). Together, these factors help to explain the growing body of evidence demonstrating that both the tableware and the environment can have a profound effect on our perception of food and drink.
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Consumers reliably match a variety of tastes (bitterness, sweetness, and sourness), oral-somatosensory attributes (carbonation, oral texture, and mouth-feel), and flavours to abstract shapes varying in their angularity. For example, they typically match more rounded forms such as circles with sweet tastes and more angular shapes such as triangles and stars with bitter and/or carbonated foods and beverages. Here, we suggest that such shape symbolic associations could be, and in some cases already are being, incorporated into the labelling and/or packaging of food and beverage products in order to subconsciously set up specific sensory expectations in the minds of consumers. Given that consumers normally prefer those food and beverage products that meet their sensory expectations, as compared to those that give rise to a ‘disconfirmation of expectation’, we believe that the targeted use of such shape symbolism may provide a means for companies to gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. Here, we review the latest research documenting a variety of examples of shape symbolism in the food and beverage sector. We also highlight a number of the explanations for such effects that have been put forward over the years. Finally, we summarise the latest evidence demonstrating that the shapes a consumer sees on the label and even the shape of the packaging in which the product is served can all impact on a consumer’s sensory-discriminative and hedonic responses to food and beverage products.
The vocabulary of wine is large and exceptionally vibrant-from straight-forward descriptive words like "sweet" and "fragrant", colorful metaphors like "ostentatious" and "brash", to the more technical lexicon of biochemistry. The world of wine vocabulary is growing alongside the current popularity of wine itself, particularly as new words are employed by professional wine writers, who not only want to write interesting prose, but avoid repetition and cliché. The question is: what do these words mean? Can they actually reflect the objective characteristics of wine, and can two drinkers really use and understand these words in the same way? This book explores whether or not wine drinkers (both novices and experts) can in fact understand wine words in the same way. The conclusion, based on experimental results, is no. Even though experts do somewhat better than novices in some experiments, they tend to do well only on wines on which they are carefully trained and/or with which they are very familiar. Does this mean that the elaborate language we use to describe wine is essentially a charade? This book shows that although scientific wine writing requires a precise and shared use of language, drinking wine and talking about it in casual, informal setting with friends is different, and the conversational goals include social bonding as well as communicating information about the wine. The book also shows how language innovation and language play, clearly seen in the names of new wines and wineries, as well as wine descriptors, is yet another influence on the burgeoning and sometimes whimsical world of wine vocabulary.
Food color affects taste perception. However, the possible effects of the visual texture of a foodstuff on taste and flavor, without associated changes to color, are currently unknown. We conducted a series of experiments designed to investigate how the visual texture and appearance of food influences its perceived taste and flavor by developing an Augmented Reality system. Participants observed a video of tomato ketchup as a food stimulus on a white dish placed behind a flat LC-display on which was mounted a video camera. The luminance distribution of the ketchup in the dynamic video was continuously and quantitatively modified by tracking specified colors in real-time. We changed the skewness of the luminance histogram of each frame in the video keeping the xy-chromaticity values intact. Participants watched themselves dip a spoon into the ketchup from the video feed (which could be altered), but then ate it with their eyes closed. They reported before and after tasting the ketchup on the perceived consistency (a liquid to solid continuum) the food looked and felt and how tasty it looked or felt. The experimental results suggest that visual texture, independent of color, affects the taste and flavor as well as the appearance of foods.
This research investigates the role that food color plays in conferring identity, meaning and liking to those foods and beverages that assume many flavor varieties. In a taste test experiment manipulating food color and label information, 389 undergraduates at a public university (53% male and 47% female; 79% between 18 and 21 years of age) were assigned the task of evaluating a successful brand of powdered fruit drink. Results from this study indicate that food color affects the consumer’s ability to correctly identify flavor, to form distinct flavor profiles and preferences, and dominates other flavor information sources, including labeling and taste. Strategic alternatives for the effective deployment of food color for promotional purposes at the point of purchase are recommended.
This study investigated the relationship between perception of an odour when smelled and the taste of a solution to which the odour is added as a flavorant. In Experiment 1 (E1) sweetness, sourness, liking and intensity ratings were obtained for 20 odours. Taste ratings were then obtained for sucrose solutions to which the odours had been added as flavorants. Certain odours were found to enhance tasted sweetness while others suppressed it. The degree to which an odour smelled sweet was the best predictor of the taste ratings. These findings were extended in Experiment 2 (E2), which included a second tastant, citric acid, and employed four odours from E1. The most sweet smelling odour, caramel, was found to suppress the sourness of citric acid and, as in E1, to enhance the sweetness of sucrose. Again, odours with low sweetness suppressed the sweetness of tasted sucrose. The study demonstrated that the effects of odours on taste perception are not limited to sweetness enhancement and apply to sour as well as sweet tastes. The overall pattern of results is consistent with an explanation of the taste properties of odours in terms of prior flavour‐taste associations.
Sensory paired comparison tests were used to study differences in taste intensity in solutions of hydroxypropylmethyl cellulose (HPMC) at concentrations above (1.0% w/w) and below (0.2% w/w) c∗, the coil-overlap concentration (the point at which viscosity changes abruptly with increasing thickener). The sweetness intensities of aspartame (250 ppm), sucrose (5% w/w), fructose (4.5% w/w) and neohesperidin dihydrochalcone (39 ppm) and the saltiness of sodium chloride (0.35%) were all found to be significantly reduced in the more viscous HPMC solution. There was no significant effect of HPMC concentration on the acidity of citric acid (600 ppm) or the bitterness of quinine hydrochloride (26 ppm). The sweetness intensities of sucrose and aspartame were likewise investigated in two further hydrocolloid solutions, guar gum and λ-carrageenan. Experiments were designed so that the ratios of the thickener concentrations (above and below c∗) to their measured c∗ values remained constant. The sweetness of sucrose was found to be significantly reduced in the more viscous guar gum solution (P<0.05) and that of aspartame was reduced in the λ-carrageenan above c∗ (P<0.001). A multiple paired comparison design was used to show that the perceived sweetness of 6.5% sucrose in 1.0% HPMC did not differ significantly from that of 5% sucrose in 0.2% HPMC. The magnitude of effect with aspartame was broadly analogous.
Reliable crossmodal correspondences have been demonstrated between dark and mint chocolates with angular shapes and sharper-sounding speech sounds on one hand, and between milk chocolate with organic shapes and rounder-sounding speech sounds on the other. In the present study, a panel of consumers was presented with four different chocolates: two mints (solid and fondant), one dark and one milk. They either tasted (Experiment 1) or simply imagined tasting (Experiment 2) the chocolates and indicated whether the perceived flavor matched one or other of the items (nonsense words or simple outline shapes) anchoring various line scales by marking a point along each scale. Dark and solid mint chocolates were more angular-shaped and associated with sharp meaningless speech sounds (e.g., “tuki” and “takete”). Mint fondant, by contrast, was considered less angular and more pleasant than dark or solid mints, while milk chocolate was more pleasant and strongly associated with organic shapes and rounded speech sounds (e.g., “lula” and “maluma”). These results corroborate and build upon recent findings concerning sound symbolism in the taste and flavor domain by highlighting the fact that oral-somatosensory textural cues play an important role in determining the crossmodal correspondences that regular consumers have for foodstuffs such as chocolate.
In this article, we investigate how context influences color preferences by comparing preferences for “contextless” colored squares with preferences for colors of a variety of objects (e.g., walls, couches, and T‐shirts). In experiment 1, we find that hue preferences for contextless squares generalize relatively well to hue preferences for imagined objects, with the substantial differences being in the saturation and lightness dimensions. In experiments 2 and 3, we find that object color preferences are relatively invariant when the objects are (a) imagined to be the color that is presented as a small square, (b) depicted as colored images of objects, and (c) viewed as actual physical objects. In experiment 4, we investigate the possibility that object color preferences are related to the degree to which colors help objects fulfill particular functions or outcomes. We also discuss relations between our results and previous theories of color preference. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Col Res Appl, 38, 393–411, 2013
While international retailers engage in the active promotion of store brands, consumers from Asia–Pacific markets remain resistant to purchasing store brands despite the intensification of promotional efforts. This study extends previous store brand research by: (1) determining the mediating role of perceived quality within a model of the antecedents and consequences of quality; and (2) assessing the extent to which age moderates the strength of relationships posited in the model. The model was tested in a retail store brand context using a quota sample of 220 shoppers and a cross-sectional survey. Empirical results suggest that performance risk, physical risk, and familiarity have significant effects on both perceived quality and purchase intention. Familiarity had the strongest total effect on perceived quality and store brand proneness in a collectivistic culture such as Malaysia and its effect on store brand proneness was partially mediated by perceived quality. Lastly, the finding that age moderates the impact of performance risk, physical risk, familiarity and perceived quality on store brand proneness provides insights into store brand management.