A creamsicle-colored set of mugs will make your hot chocolate taste and smell sweeter than it would taste served in plain white or stark red, according to European scientists. This adds to the growing set of studies that claim the vessel in which our food is served can have a dramatic effect on the way our senses perceive the food.
In what may have been the easiest volunteer experiment ever, 57 people had to drink hot chocolate served in four different types of cups. They were all plastic and the same size, but were either white, cream, red or orange with white inside. The tasters reported the chocolate tasted better in the cream-colored and orange cups.
The color had nothing to do with this difference, neither physically nor chemically, but apparently the drinkers' brains thought they detected a difference, according to Betina Piqueras-Fiszman, a researcher at the Polytechnic University of Valencia in Spain. The study references other similar findings--like the perception that yellow packaging improves lemon flavor, or that blue drinks appear to be more thirst-quenching than red ones.
This is useful information for chefs and food-packing professionals, because it shows presentation does matter. And while that may seem obvious, there could be scientific benefits, too--especially for researchers who study sensory perception and how the senses integrate.
One of the few good things about persistent cold weather is the excuse to drink hot chocolate. But you'd better be careful how you sip it.
Hot chocolate always taste best in "MY" cup! YUMMY!
Hot chocolate always taste best in "MY" cup! YUMMY! YUMMY! YUMMY! Hot chocolate always taste best in "MY" cup! YUMMY! YUMMY!
^ This needed to happen sooner. Although now you are required to comment on every damn article written on this site.
Oh my God. Tardbot, I love you. I'm with TheBabblingWood on this one. Too bad you are so late on this. I literally *just* created an account right now to reply to this.
everyones mad at robot... but just imagine what his/her life would be like if he/she didn't comment on every article. why, then he/she would have absolutely nothing. i say let him/her have that one great lifetime accomplishment.
you wouldn't want someone popping your only balloon, would you?
everything we just wrote was extremely mean. the funny thing is, he/she is probably really cool to chill with, though i haven't read all robot's posts so i don't know either way.
we all take life waaay too seriously lol. let's cut the douchery
i wish they'd give a list of food items and mug-colors that go with it :D
I so much enjoy seeing many people commenting.
I often laugh and or learn from other peoples comments.
It is a little sad; the above comments are recently new and most probably created by one person. I like variety in comments, simply because I think each individual as something to offer. Take care and enjoy some warm cozy chocolate milk! YUMMY!
By addressing this troll, I feed him, lol.
Unfortunately, all this proves is that people prefer the taste of hot chocolate in orange and cream cups when they drink four cups of hot chocolate in white, cream, red, and orange cups. The problem here is that the participants are aware, or made to believe, that there is a difference between the hot chocolates given to them, which certainly has an effect on the results.
If they had given each person only one cup of chocolate in a randomized color and then surveyed them on the taste, they could have drawn a much more meaningful conclusion using the average ratings for each color. Instead, the result is rendered meaningless.
Not everybody is mad at robot. Personally ive always enjoyed his lil comments, tardbot is nothing more then an online bully.
TerryToo to eabarth: Your observation is astute. This is neither good experimental design, not correct in its conclusion. A monadic design with large sample cells would be more valid. Yet it does beg the question of individual perception and conscious experience, not to mention how people differ in taste preferences and taste perception - and color preference too. Oh, and throw in a control cell that has people blindfolded so they don't know the color of the cup. Then after they taste it, rate the taste. And before they taste the drink, blindfold those who did see the color of their cup first, then have them rate it What the heck, we're goind to this much trouble anyway - try everything.
How large the taste preferences are across the colors is important as well. Statistically significant, but still small, differences do not imply importance.
Tardbot, I laughed at your first comment, however I commend Robot for showing us that retaliation here is not needed. I hope your hot chocolate is the best Robot, you deserve it.
whateves man! leave Robot alone... its not her/his fault if s/he's born that way!
btw, which "European scientists" are we talking about here popsci? how do we know that your not making up this experiment huh?
Also, the sample size was only 57 people. That's a very small sample size for reporting scientific evidence to support a theory.
Also, 4 cups is too many for one person to evaluate at a time. 2 should be the maximum. You do preliminary studies to determine the two colors of cups you would use in your final (large) study (with a sample size mush larger than 57). I like the idea of the blindfolds except for the fact that the study is looking at how our visual perception of food affects our interpretation of its taste. In this case the person needs to see the color of the cup before tasting.
(1) The study was published in a journal in August 2012. Here's the abstract: onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1745-459X.2012.00397.x/abstract
(2) The original story - and this one - misrepresent both the info in the abstract and in the research. From the abstract:
"...sweetness and chocolate aroma were less influenced by the color of the cup, but the results still showed that the hot chocolate, when consumed from the dark-cream cup, was rated as sweeter and its aroma more intense."
From the paper:
"Where the orange cup (with the white interior) did give rise to higher ratings was in terms of the chocolate flavor and liking ratings, the dark-cream cup came a close second..."
To sum (results below):
(1) People liked the hot chocolate more when the cup was orange with white interior than when it was dark cream inside-and-out (but this was not statistically significant),
(2) People thought the chocolate was most intense when the cup was orange/white (but not statistically significantly more than the cream cup), and
(3) People thought aroma more intense in the cream-colored cup than the orange cup (again, not statistically significant).
So it's a tie between a dark cream cup (inside and out) and an orange/white cup (outside-and-in). The pictures make the interior of the orange cup look cream, not white.
Very poorly written abstract and poorly written discussion, IMO. Cannot speak to soundness of design as it's outside of my area of expertise, but it was accepted by a journal.
(3) To the criticism about study design and prejudice:
"Fifty-seven volunteers took part in this study. The participants were attending a day-long sensory event, in which this tasting activity was included as a small part of the day’s activities. No information about the specific aim of the study was provided to the participants prior to their activity."
"The stimuli consisted of plastic cups of the following colors: white, dark cream, reddish orange-and-white (with the outside orange and the interior white, though it will be referred as orange henceforth to simplify the description) and red, since those are among the most common colors found among cups available for dispensed (or vended) hot beverages (see Fig. 1). The different cups (different in terms of their inner color) were used to explore whether the inner or outer color would dominate in terms of any effects that could be observed."
(4) "The color of the cup exerted a significant impact on participants’ liking of the hot beverage (P < 0.01). The chocolate drink served in the red cup was significantly more liked (P < 0.01) than when the hot beverage was served in the white cup (M = 4.6 versus 3.3, respectively). "
[This is, supposedly, regardless of the sweetness of the drink.]
(5) "The chocolate aroma from the cream-colored cups was perceived as being more intense than from the red cups (at marginal levels, P = 0.07,M = 4.6 versus 3.7; see Fig. 3C). "
But not orange.
(6) "The intensity of the chocolate flavor was rated as being significantly (P < 0.05) more intense when the hot beverage was served from the orange cup than when it was served from the red cup and white cup (M = 5.4 versus 4.6 and 4.6, respectively; see Fig. 3B)."
However - the bar chart shows that the orange/white cup was more liked than red (that was the head-to-head comparison) and that cream was more liked than white (the other head-to-head comparison).
By head-to-head -> testers either drank
sweet chocolate in white & cream and unsweet in orange & red
unsweet chocolate in white & cream and sweet in orange & red
(7) The researchers also note that cross-cultural factors may be at work as well as advertising and marketing designed to change perceptions.
"... some color associations stay constant over the years (not to mention decades), others may be much more short-lived, and change in accordance with changes in fashion and the marketplace (e.g.,Walford 1980; Downham and Collins 2000). Hence, it is important to be clear that the crossmodal color conclusions drawn by researchers in previous years/decades need not necessarily hold true of today’s marketplace. What is more, there are also likely to be a number of important cross-cultural variations that need to be borne in mind (e.g., see Wheatley 1973; Jacobs et al. 1991; Piqueras-Fiszman et al. 2012b)."
Just looking about in life and considering the public and the people I know, going by this article we should all own orange cups and yet in reality we do not.
I find this article promotional of selling orange colored cups and less in tune to actually what the market wants. The color orange is not new and if the public thought it made food taste better, they would naturally already own the orange colored cups. Chiefs know the importance of decorating their food.
I give this article a raspberry, pltzzzzz!
Chefs, not Chiefs, lol..... goofy me.
I like chocolate very much but made from cafechococraze.
You can see the different variety of chocolate and enjoy.