Does Color Influence Taste?

June 12, 2013: Does Color Influence Taste?

A few months ago I wrote about this elsewhere, but it’s so fascinating I wanted to share it with you. Most of us are aware of how powerful color can be-but few of us are probably aware that the color “of the container where food and drink are served can enhance some attributes, like taste and aroma.”

That is the conclusion of research from Spain’s Polytechnic University of Valencia and the University of Oxford in Great Britain, in which hot chocolate was served to volunteer tasters in red, orange, white or cream plastic cups (all cups were colored white on the inside). According to the tasters the hot chocolate served in cream or orange-colored cups tasted better.

According to Betina Piqueras-Fiszman, the researcher from Polytechnic University of Valencia, diners’ reactions to the taste of the food and the color of the dish it’s served in will vary depending on the type of food served. However, she says the color of the dishes you serve food in “has more potential [to influence taste] than one could imagine.”

The concept of color influencing taste isn’t new. Older research showed beverages served in “cold” colors such as blue were seen as more thirst-quenching than those served in “warm” colors like red. Sodas served in yellow cups are thought to be lemon-flavored, and pink drinks are considered sweeter.

This research is obviously of particular interest if you own a restaurant, catering or party planning business. If that’s you, consider the color of the dishes you serve the food on.