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© 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. The present online study was designed to investigate whether the expected flavor associated with a colored beverage is affected by the type of receptacle in which the drink is presented. More than 400 participants from France, Japan and Norway viewed photographs of red, green, yellow, blue, orange, brown and clear beverages presented in a water glass, a wine glass, a cocktail glass or a plastic cup. They had to indicate the first flavor that came to mind by choosing a flavor from a list of 24 options, and to rate the familiarity and pleasantness of each drink. The results revealed that the nature of the receptacle modulated the meaning (expected flavor) of color for the red, green, yellow, blue and orange drinks. Cultural differences were observed in terms of the expected flavor elicited by the blue drinks, as well as how different receptacles influenced the familiarity and pleasantness ratings of the same drinks. Practical Applications: The present study provides a better understanding of the crossmodal correspondences observed in the case of beverages. We demonstrate how the type of receptacle, an important but all too frequently neglected contextual factor, influences the expected flavor elicited by color. These findings regarding crossmodal correspondences are relevant to sensory scientists interested in the flavor-color associations of beverages. What is more, our results also reveal cross-cultural differences in the perception of beverages, and demonstrate how associations that people in certain countries/cultures may take for granted could be very surprising or novel in other cultures/countries. Specially, the present study provides new evidence concerning how people from France and Japan (both of which are well known for their unique and distinctive food cultures) would respond to the same colored drinks in similar or different ways to other groups of people (who have been tested in the present or previous research). Therefore, our findings are also important in terms of international marketing, and highlight the importance of getting the receptacle right when displaying a beverage in online marketing.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Sensory Studies

Publication Date





233 - 244