That spoon sure looks yummy. Not that I'm planning on eating my utensils. But the appearance and feel of cutlery influences the taste of food. That’s according to a study in the journal Flavour. [Vanessa Harrar and Charles Spence, The taste of cutlery: how the taste of food is affected by the weight, size, shape, and color of the cutlery used to eat it]
It was already known that plate size, background music and even lighting can influence eating habits.
To test the effect of cutlery, researchers served food with utensils of different weights, colors and shapes.
When volunteers ate yogurt from lighter spoons, they rated its taste as denser and more expensive. Spoon color was important as well. A blue spoon made white yogurt taste less salty than the same yogurt dyed pink. And a black spoon made both yogurts taste less sweet.
Researchers also fed subjects cheddar cheese, who said that eating from a knife made the cheese seem saltier than eating from a fork, spoon or toothpick.
Clearly, outside cues can have a huge influence on how food tastes, and thus on our eating habits. Which may color your choice of place settings at your next dinner party.
[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]