European scientists say they have found further evidence that how you serve food and drink matters hugely in the perception of taste.
Researchers at the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the University of Oxford recruited 57 volunteers and asked them to taste hot chocolate served in plastic cups with four different colours—white, cream, red and orange with white on the inside.
The chocolate was the same in all the samples, but the volunteers found that the flavour was better when the drink was served in the orange or cream-coloured cups.
"The colour of the container where food and drink are served can enhance some attributes like taste and aroma," Betina Piqueras-Fiszman of the Polytechnic University of Valencia said in a press release.
The findings could be beneficial to chefs and food manufacturers, Piqueras-Fiszman added.
Previous research has found that yellow containers boost the perception of flavour of lemons in soft drinks; beverages with cold colours, like blue, seem more thirst-quenching than warm colours like red; and if drinks are pink, they are perceived as being more sugary.
The study appears in a specialist publication, the Journal of Sensory Studies.
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More information: Betina Piqueras-Fiszman, Charles Spence. "The influence of the color of the cup on consumers' perception of a hot beverage". Journal of Sensory Studies 27 (5): 324–331, 2012.