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The association between the colour of a container and the liquid inside: an experimental study on consumers’ perception, expectations and choices regarding mineral water

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-09, 01:26 authored by Paola Risso, Emanuela Maggioni, Nadia Olivero, Alberto Gallace
Multisensory interactions have been shown to affect food and beverage perception. Here we investigated if the colour of a plastic cup can affect the perception and expectation of the mineral water that is served in it. In Experiment 1, the participants were required to evaluate freshness, pleasantness, level of carbonation, and lightness of 3 different kind of mineral water (natural, slightly carbonated and carbonated) using visual analogue scales. The water was served in white, red, and blue plastic cups. In Experiment 2, we investigated the participants’ expectations regarding the water served in the same coloured plastic cups without tasting the liquid. In Experiment 3, we investigated if the participants chose to drink a given kind of water when served in a plastic cup of a specific colour. The results of Experiment 1 showed that people perceived mineral water as more carbonated when contained in a red or blue plastic cup, than when contained in a white cup. In Experiment 2, the participants expected the sparkling water contained in a blue cup to be less carbonated than the same water contained in a red or white cup and the slightly carbonated water more carbonated when served in a white or red cup with respect to the blue cup. Moreover, people expected the water to be fresher when contained in a white cup than in a red cup. In Experiment 3, the participants preferentially chose a white plastic cup to taste still water and blue or red cup to taste slightly sparkling water. These results clearly demonstrate that people’s perceptions, expectations, and choices regarding mineral water are differently modulated by the colour of the container where the liquid is served. The present study has important implications not only for understanding the multisensory interactions affecting beverage perception, but also for marketing and packaging design purposes.


Publication status

  • Published

File Version

  • Published version


Food Quality and Preference







Page range

17 - 25

Department affiliated with

  • Informatics Publications

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Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

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