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© 2015 by Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. Over the last three decades or so, a great deal of published research has demonstrated that the visual appearance of a variety of different food and drink products can have a profound effect not only on our perception of their sensory properties but also on how much food a person ultimately ends up consuming. While there are multiple aspects to visual appearance, including a foodstuff’s opacity and texture, the majority of the research that has been conducted to date has tended to focus on color, and it is on this aspect of visual appearance that we too intend to concentrate here. Importantly, since color (along with orthonasal olfaction) is among the only sensory cues that are available to consumers before they purchase and then finally taste a product, it can provide a number of powerful cues about the food or beverage’s likely sensory properties. This information can then set up expectations in the mind of the consumer about the likely taste, aroma, flavor, and even oral-somatosensory qualities of the product. Furthermore, depending on whether they are confirmed or disconfirmed (Schifferstein 2001; Spence 2012), such expectations may actually bias a consumer’s subsequent perception of the stimulus in a variety of different ways (Yeomans et al. 2008). But it is not just that vision has temporal precedence over the majority of other food-related cues; it also tends to be the dominant sense when it comes to flavor identification.

Original publication





Book title

Nutrition and Sensation

Publication Date



139 - 158