Monday, February 26, 2007

The Color of Food

The color of food has a huge impact on what we will percieve the taste to be. Recently, while I was making the Green Tea Chocolate Chip Ice Cream, I had a strong desire for the ice cream to be green. I struggled because adding food color isn't necessarily healthy. I love food to be simple and pure but I still struggled. Could the ice cream be good without being green? I have had mint ice cream without it being green and it was delicious. So-why am I so much more attracted to a green mint chocolate chip than a white, plain one? If the ice cream was green, it would look more minty and then maybe it would taste more minty.

I recently read an article about a new study. It is the first of its kind to examine how color, price or brand can impact consumer preferences.

The researchers manipulated the color of orange juice by adding food coloring and changed the the sweetness by adding an artificial sweetener. The results were calculated from the taste tests of 60 to 150 undergraduate students. The conclusion was that the color of the juice dominated the taste perception of the students.

This test also included a taste test with juice glasses labeled with a brand name vs. a generic name and how the taste would be percieved. For this test they also changed the color of the juice. The juice was exactly the same brand in each glass but the tasters identified the taste as different. The article states: "The findings revealed that people preferred the samples that had brand labels over those that had different colors. However, they noticed a bigger difference in taste when the samples had different colors rather than when they had different labels".


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