Saturday, January 5, 2013

Colour of the Cup Makes the Cocoa

New research suggests that hot chocolate tastes better in an orange or cream coloured cup than in a white or red one.

"The colour of the container where food and drink are served can enhance some attributes like taste and aroma," says Betina Piqueras-Fiszman, researcher at the Polytechnic University of Valencia (Spain).

Piqueras-Fiszman and colleague Charles Spence of the University of Oxford conducted an experiment in which 57 volunteer participants evaluated samples of hot chocolate served in four different types of plastic cup. Each cup was the same size but of different colours: white, cream, red and orange with white on the inside.

Results of the experiment revealed that the flavour of chocolate served in orange or cream coloured cups was better for the tasting volunteers.

While the sweetness (not the flavour of the cocoa) and the aroma (the smell) were not influenced by the colour of the cup, the participants mentioned that the chocolate was slightly sweeter and more aromatic in a cream coloured cup.

"There is no fixed rule stating that flavour and aroma are enhanced in a cup of a certain colour or shade," says Piqueras-Fiszman. "But the truth is that, as this effect occurs, more attention should be paid to the colour of the container as it has more potential than one could imagine."

The results are relevant to scientists interested in understanding how the brain integrates visual information and to chefs, catering professionals and packagers who select the colour of crockery and packaging.

Cocoa and Hot Chocolate
Beverage Supplies

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

The Importance of a Local Catch

The average Spanish consumer prefers fish from Spain, according to a study published in the 'Food Quality and Preference' journal.

Scientists at the Institute for Research and Technology in Food and Agriculture (IRTA) interviewed nearly 900 consumers from nine Autonomous Communities (Andalusia, Asturias, the Balearic Islands, the Canary Islands, Cantabria, Catalonia, Galicia, Madrid and Murcia) about their preferences when buying fish. Evaluated factors included the country of origin (Spain, Morocco and Norway), whether they were fished or farm-raised, their conservation method (fresh or frozen) and the price (6€/kg, 12€/kg and18€/kg).

The results reveal that the place of origin (Spain in this case) is the most important factor for consumers when buying fish. The statistical analyses outline that the relative importance of the country of origin stands at 42.96%, whereas the other three variables are less than half: 20.58% for storage conditions, 19.13% for price and 18.01% for whether the fish is wild or farm-raised.

Spain is the largest producer of fish in the European Union but in recent years its population has consumed less fish, especially seafood.  The nation has a longstanding tradition of fishing and its homeland products are considered to be fresher than their imported counterparts.

Photo: Cantabrian Hake

Seafood and Fish