Does color affect your taste?


Have you ever looked at a piece of food and knew how it tasted? Without ever putting the food in your mouth you were able to determine how sweet or bitter it was. This happens because of how color affects one’s taste. 

Color is often the first aspect noticed about foods and drinks and it can be the most influential. Many times the flavor or taste of a food is known just by the looks. For example, the color red is associated with sweetness.

One study done by The National Library of Medicine, experimented with this effect. In the study, 401 participants were given samples of one of three flavors: grapefruit, lemon, or raspberry. 

The participants were given the same drink in four different receptacles. These containers differed by color and weight, the results of the test showed a great influence of color on perceived taste of the drink.

The study said, “Specifically, in terms of sweetness, red-coloured drinks have been found to enhance the detection of sweetness.”

Drinks that were served in a red container were reported more sweet and more carbonated than the same drink served in a black container, 

On another note, colors that are not associated with regular foods have an impact on taste too. One study put steak under a blue light for participants to eat. Some volunteers reported feeling sick after seeing the blue-lit steak. Due to the fact that the color blue is not natural for steak, the participants felt uncomfortable or even queasy at its sight.

How bright the color is also affects its perceived taste. According to Spoon University, a website dedicated to helping provide recipes and nutritional information to students, colors that are brighter are seen as being more nutritious and having more flavor. This is why the candy Skittles are appealing to consumers as its bright colors assume greater taste. 

Colors additionally can trigger hunger responses. The color yellow is known to increase appetite. According to Color Psychology, “Yellow is associated with happiness and energy, and it is said to even stimulate one’s metabolism.”

 The logo for McDonald’s capitalizes on this fact with its use of red and yellow. With the use of yellow to increase appetite and red to increase heart rate, it is a perfect combination to make consumers more likely to pull in to eat.

This image is of a McDonald’s sign outside one of its restaurants. Its use of the colors red and yellow lure consumers to the store by using psychological tricks to increase their appetite. “Dying McDonald’s Logo, Shepherd’s Bush, 16-10-06” by DG Jones is marked with CC BY-NC 2.0.

The color white has psychological effects with white being associated with saltines and also relate to emptiness and harmlessness. Foods such as popcorn support this fact and allows for mass consumption of the food without thinking about it.

Additionally, the color of food plays an important role in determining how it tastes. It can make you taste flavors that aren’t even present and possibly increase hunger. The next time you think a food is appetizing, think about how colors can influence your decisions, it may just surprise you.

Cuisine with Aileen: Offal is not awful

Editor’s Column

Aileen Janee is the sports editor for Ethic News.


Pig cheeks, oxtails, and chicken feet–all seen as disgusting pieces of the very animals we eat, but one man’s trash is another man’s treasure as they say.

Offal is all of these things. According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, offal is “the waste or by-product of a process.” By associating the less used pieces of meat as waste, there is already a negative connotation to these other parts of livestock.

When I was in one of my classes, we were talking about Upton Sinclair’s “The Jungle” and the teacher branched off to talk about how pieces of meat including pig cheeks or tails are undesirable.

In most other countries outside of America, they use the “undesirable” and “unwanted” pieces of meat.

As a Filipino, there is a traditional dish called sisig and it is made up of the unwanted pieces of meat, pig cheeks, ears and more, and kare-kare which is another traditional dish usually made with peanut butter and oxtail. These are delicious dishes, and I pride myself on being a Filipino.

Other delicious dishes include chicken feet that one can find at Chinese dimsum restaurants, but when I was watching an old Disney show with my siblings, they used chicken feet and called them monkey knuckles in a sketch making fun of microwave dinners.

Although the conversation on chicken beaks making up chicken nuggets most likely only lasted a few minutes, a few confused minutes. I couldn’t help

Starting with “The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair, a novel originally written to expose the exploitation of immigrants coming into America, Americans started to have a negative view on offal.

A part of the stigma can come from back in the day when good cuts of meat were associated with the rich and the unwanted parts with the poor. Logically, the impoverished would try to make their dish as delicious as possible with whatever they have.

Things have obviously changed from the Progressive Era: the food and drug act and necessary nutrition facts. The making and processing of our foods is now better.

Even the local Costco is starting to sell beef tripe and ox tails; near the meat section, I saw a few people piling up and looking at some large white meat, so when I went over to check it out, it was beef tripe, and right next to it was oxtail. I was filled with joy to see offal in a place more accessible to people.

Food culture is culture. Attacking someone’s food is attacking their identity and their culture, whether or not it is intentional, but that article is for another time.

For the time being, normalizing offal allows people from multitudes of countries to have pride in their cultures and not have to feel put down or what their eating is disgusting simply because it is not what the majority indulges in.

America is known as the big melting pot so it should be just that: a big melting pot with a variety of delicious cultures.