Scientists at the Polytechnic University of Valencia in Spain and Britain's University of Oxford said their study shows our senses perceive food in a different way depending on the characteristics of the container from which we eat and drink.
Both schools conducted an experiment in which 57 participants had to evaluate identical samples of hot chocolate served in four different types of plastic cup of the same size but of different colors: white, cream, red and orange with white on the inside.
Study participants said they thought the chocolate served in orange or cream colored cups was better tasting, a release from the Spanish Foundation for Science and Technology reported Thursday.
The findings are evidence the brain integrates visual information not just from the food itself but from the receptacle or container from which it is consumed, the researchers said.
"There is no fixed rule stating that flavor and aroma are enhanced in a cup of a certain color or shade," Valencia researcher Betina Piqueras-Fiszman said. "In reality this varies depending on the type of food, but the truth is that, as this effect occurs, more attention should be paid to the color of the container as it has more potential than one could imagine."
Previous studies have suggested yellow tins improve the perceived flavor of lemons, soft drinks in containers with cold-colors like blue seem more thirst-quenching than warm colors like red, and drinks served from pink containers are perceived as being more sugary.