How we experience food is a multisensory experience involving taste, feel of the food in our mouths, aroma, and the feasting of our eyes.
A new study published in the journal Flavour by University of Oxford researchers suggests that the colour, weight and type of silverware we eat with can affect our taste perception.
In a series of experiments, the researchers used utensils of different colours, shapes and weight to gauge the impact on the perceived taste of the same food among dozens of volunteers with normal vision.
Among other things, they found that yogurt seemed denser and more expensive when eaten from a plastic spoon. White yogurt was rated sweeter, more liked and more expensive than pink-coloured yogurt when they were eaten from a white spoon. These effects were reversed when the two colours of yogurt were eaten from a black spoon. Crazy, right?
The researchers also tested people’s responses to two different types of cheese, and found that they were thought to be saltier when eaten from a knife than from a spoon, fork, or toothpick.
Even before we put food into our mouths, we’ve made judgements about the way it looks and feels, the study explains — a finding that could have potential use in weight-loss and healthy eating initiatives.
The researchers aren’t making any official recommendations yet, but it’s definitely intriguing to see where this research goes next.