Saturday, June 23, 2018

Color Affects Perception of Taste

We taste what we see. I'm sure we all want to think we'd be smart enough to taste the difference between, say, lime and strawberry gummy bears. But if you've ever looked at the back of a bag of Haribo gummy bears, under the green gummy bear, you won't see "lime" or "green apple" listed as the flavor. Green Haribo gummy bears are actually strawberry flavored.

If you're anything like me, you'll question whether your entire existence is a lie. But as it turns out, this is a perfect example of how what we see - color - can influence what we taste. Generally, we perceive red foods as sweet, green foods as tart, yellow foods as sour, and so on. This is the reason food manufacturers put dyes in food to begin with. It enhances the food's perceived taste. Only, in this case, the color choice is rather deceptive.
This video shows this effect in action. So if you could have sworn green Haribo gummy bears tasted like lime or strawberry, don't feel so bad. You aren't alone. It turns out your brain is to blame for jumping the gun.

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