Academics have examined the effect of color among picky eaters, in the first study of its kind.
Previous research has shown that the smell and texture of food can affect its taste in picky eaters, but little is known about the other senses.
A team from the University of Portsmouth discovered that the color of the bowl in which food is served also affects taste perception.
The experiment had nearly 50 people measure their phobia of food, which is the unwillingness to eat or try a new food. Participants, who were divided into picky and non-picky eaters, then tasted the same snacks served in red, white and blue bowls.
The results showed that both salinity and craving for foods were affected by color in the picky group, but not the non-picky group.
Specifically, the snack was rated higher in terms of saltiness in the red and blue bowl versus the white bowl, and less favorable when served in the red bowl. In the UK, salty snacks are often sold in blue packaging, and the team believes this may explain some of the saltiness results.
Dr Lorenzo Stafford, an olfactory researcher in the Department of Psychology at the University of Portsmouth, said: “A restricted diet can lead to nutritional deficiencies as well as health problems such as heart disease, poor bone health and dental problems. There is also a social cost because usually pleasurable moments Between family members it can easily turn into stressful, anxious and conflict-causing situations when picky eaters feel shamed or pressured to eat.
“That’s why it’s important to understand the factors that drive and pull this behavior.”
Picky eating behavior is usually categorized as a limited diet, specific food preparation, strong aversion, and difficulty accepting new foods. Over the course of their lifetime, a picky eater will generally consume fewer than 20 different food items.
The paper published in Food quality and preference Journal, says this study is believed to be the first to provide insight into the interaction between color and taste perception in picky and picky adults and reveal a difference in the way color affects food perception in picky eaters.
She recommends further research to see if these findings extend beyond the foods and colors tested here.
“This knowledge could be useful for those trying to expand food stocks,” Dr. Stafford added.
For example, if you want to encourage picky eaters to try more vegetables that are well known to be bitter, you could try serving them in a dish or bowl that is known to increase sweetness.
“With more research, we can identify ways to help positively influence a person’s diet and, as a result, their mental and physical health.”