Reducing salt levels in food products is an important motivation for research, as the general intake of salt by consumers is too high. Finding strategies for salt reduction, while maintaining salty taste of products remains a big challenge. In this paper we show the effect that a perceptual expectation of a taste can have on subsequent taste perception, in the same product. A perceptual expectation is based on previous experience, memory, or other information from the product. Our hypothesis is that, if a product looks the same, smells the same and has the same texture as the product one is used to eat, small variations in taste will go unnoticed. In a consumer study, we investigated if the expectation, or implicit assumption, that saltiness remains constant across mouthfuls, can indeed reduce the perception of variation in salt concentration. We were able to demonstrate the existence of such an effect. We found that perceptual expectation, based on the first bite, can influence saltiness perception.
- Perceptual constancy
- Taste perception