With cold weather upon us and no clear break in sight, many outdoor enthusiasts are warming up with a mug of hot chocolate. What could be better you ask? Well, according to researchers from the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the University of Oxford, hot chocolate served in an orange or dark cream colored mug tastes best.


In a study published by the Journal of Sensory Studies, participants were presented with outwardly red, orange, dark cream and white cups of hot chocolate (all cups were white on the inside). Study participants rated the hot chocolate as tasting significantly better when it was served to them in the orange and dark cream cups. When it comes to the relationship between the color of the foods serving dish and its taste, researcher Betina Piqueras-Fiszman has this to say:


“There is no fixed rule stating that flavour and aroma are enhanced in a cup of a certain colour or shade. … [B]ut the truth is that… more attention should be paid to the colour of the container as it has more potential than one could imagine.”


The findings from this study will certainly echo into food manufacturing and culinary practices. Restaurateurs and chefs have long been interested in how plating techniques and dishware impact the dining experience. The color and size of dishware can affect a foods appeal, taste and even the perception of serving size. For those of us interested in health promotion, consider how we could harness this information. Could the enjoyment of healthful foods be improved by the color of packaging? What hue of plate might encourage more munching on dark leafy greens? Color me intrigued! 

Color Me Intrigued: Cup Color Influences the Taste of Hot Chocolate

by Lindsay Buchanan, RD

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