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7 Wacky Things That Seriously Affect Your Sense of Taste

Even the weight of your silverware can impact the way you perceive your meal.

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The color of the food’s packaging

7-Up was one of the first brands to discover that consumers can quite literally taste color. In the 1930s, marketing expert Louis Cheskin experimented with the color of the brand’s green and yellow can. When designers added 15 percent more yellow to it, consumers thought that the recipe had been altered to include more lemon. A similar situation played out with Coca-Cola when it decided to sell its signature Coke in white cans instead of red ones. Consumers said the Coke tasted different, despite the company stating that the recipe was the same. These are 6 foods that can seriously trick your taste buds.

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The material of your eating utensils

One study found that yogurt was rated as more expensive and denser when it was tasted from a light plastic spoon, rather than an artificially weighted plastic spoon. And if you’re slurging for higher-quality cutlery than plastic? Don’t default to silver. Another study found that food tastes best on gold and stainless steel cutlery. It turns out, silver simply leaves a bad metallic taste in the mouth. Here are 9 other reasons you have a metallic taste in your mouth. 

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The music you’re listening to

If you’re the type of person who plays music during fancy dinner parties, take note: Listening to soundscapes with lots of tinkling, high-pitched notes can accentuate our perception of sweetness up to 10 percent. We’ll let you decide if that’s something you want during the main course, but at the very least, it could be one way to amp up that pumpkin pie. Also find out how your age and other weird things can mess with your taste buds.

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The type of eating utensil you use

One study found that cheese was rated saltiest when sampled from a knife, compared to a spoon, fork, or toothpick. And while the study notes that “knives are not usually inserted into one’s mouth,” it did explain that the unusual behavior could have affected the taste.

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The color of the food

It turns out, if the color of the food is artificially modified, it could throw off our brains entirely. In 2001, 54 students at the University of Bordeaux used red-wine terms such as chicory, coal, prune, and tobacco to describe a white wine that had been dyed red. When they tried the same wine in its natural color, they described it as honey, lemon, and straw. Now learn the reason why the Coke at McDonald’s taste better than anywhere else.

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The language on your menu

Reading a mouth-watering description of a food on your menu could help you savor it more. In one study, when a menu item was described as a “Succulent Italian Seafood Filet” rather than a simple “Seafood Filet” its sales increased by 28 percent, and it was rated as tastier—even though the recipe was the same.

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The color of the plate

Baking a flavorful dessert can be hard to accomplish. One way to improve its taste? Serve it on a plate that contrasts with the dessert’s color. One study found that participants rated strawberry mousse served on a white plate to be more flavorful and sweet than strawberry mousse served on a black plate. They believe it has to do with how to color of the mousse appeared in contrast to the plate. Next, don’t miss 27 foods that definitely taste better in the fall.