Thursday, June 23, 2022

Taste based on appearance

Something interesting that was presented in the book was how the presentation of food can strongly influence what we taste. When thinking about food I think about taste and smell but I have never thought about how important appearance can strongly impose on what we taste. One of the examples presented in the book was if we were presented with four different drinks with four different juices in each one we would be able to identify them easily based on their color when tasting them. However, if we were color blind our ability to identify the flavors of the drinks would drop as low as 20%. This astonished me because the percentage to identify drinks if that person were color blind was significantly lower than I thought it would be. The perceptions that we have with associating food and color are great determinants in what we expect food to taste.

There has been much research conducted on this effect. For example in an article titled “Tasting with our eyes: Why bright blue chicken looks so strange" written by Linda Poon, Poon talks about an experiment conducted in 1970’s where participants were given steak and french fries under lighting that altered the color of the food to look normal, which the participants commented that they enjoyed the meal. Once the lighting turned normal and revealed that the steak was dyed blue and the french fries were dyed green, all  participants lost their appetite and some even claimed they felt sick. In the same article Poon quotes Charles Spence an experimental psychologist who specializes in perception of food at Oxford University, Spence states “Visual cues kind of have precedence and can set up expectations about what it is we think we’re going to taste and what the flavor will be.” as well as stating “And those expectations tend to be very powerful determinants of what we actually experience.” 

In conclusion with all this information coming out I now think to myself about the previous places I have gone out to eat at and whether I didn't like the food because of the lighting in the restaurant gave the food a bland color or if the food was simply not seasoned enough. There are so many things to factor in when going out to eat, especially when trying a new type of food. I think I will plan ahead when I go out to eat to try a restaurant that has good lighting to give the full effects of the food. While it isn't necessary I think it would allow me to have a better experience when eating at different restaurants.

Poon, Linda. “Tasting with Our Eyes: Why Bright Blue Chicken Looks so Strange.” NPR, NPR, 16 Apr. 2014,

1 comment:

  1. This article is very interesting. I don't usually think appearance matters that much when tasting food so I wonder if I too would feel sick after eating blue chicken.