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Taste of food influence by cutlery

Taste of food influence by cutlery

A new study has revealed that we believe food tastes differently depending on the cutlery which is used to eat it with.

A team at the University of Oxford has found that the size, shape, colour and weight of the eating implement has an effect on our perceptions.

The report was published in the journal Flavour and revealed that, for instance, cheese tastes saltier when it is eaten from a knife rather than a fork, and yoghurt tastes better when a white spoon is used to consume it.

Researchers carried out three experiments with 100 students and also found that when the weight of the cutlery conformed to expectations, food tasted differently. Small spoons were found to make food taste sweeter, as these are often used with desserts.

Colour was also taken into account, and yoghurt appeared to be sweeter when it was eaten using a white spoon compared to a black one.

Perceptions over the saltiness of cheese altered depending on whether a spoon, fork, tooth pick or knife were used.

Dr Vanessa Harrar and Professor Charles Spence, who led the team of researchers, said: "How we experience food is a multisensory experience involving taste, feel of the food in our mouths, aroma, and the feasting of our eyes. Even before we put food into our mouths our brains have made a judgment about it, which affects our overall experience."

Previously, research has also been undertaken on crockery colours and the effect this has on the person eating. Red tends to limit food intake, so could be a tactic which is used for those who are looking to lose weight.

It remains to be seen whether food companies use this research to alter their marketing campaigns. For instance, dessert manufacturers might want to promote the use of small, white spoons for eating their puddings if they are seeking to create a top-selling sweet treat.


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