There’s a reason why restaurants and diners ensure a comfortable ambience for you to relax and enjoy your food. While this may just be a theory a few weeks ago, researches from Cornell University have managed to find out that environment does actually make a difference in taste. They say that people’s’ perception of food changes based on where they are eating.
TASTE DIFFERENCE IN SURROUNDINGS
“When we eat, we perceive not only just the taste and aroma of foods, we get sensory input from our surroundings — our eyes, ears, even our memories about surroundings,” said Robin Dando, associate professor of food science and senior author of the study. To come to this conclusion, 50 panelists were given virtual reality headsets which differed in environment. One took them to a standard sensory booth, the second to a pleasant park bench and the third to the Cornell cow barn. All they had to do is eat the same variety of blue cheese in all different environments.
The panelists were kept unaware that the cheese samples did not differ in variety. After tasting, they felt that the pungency of cheese tasted with the barnyard reality was higher than the other two scenarios. “We consume foods in surroundings that can spill over into our perceptions of the food,” said Dando. “This research validates that virtual reality can be used, as it provides an immersive environment for testing. Visually, virtual reality imparts qualities of the environment itself to the food being consumed — making this kind of testing cost-efficient.”