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Heavy cutlery 'enhances the enjoyment of food'

In the latest research, published in the international peer-reviewed journal Flavour, one of the premier open access food science journals, a team from Oxford University's Crossmodal Research Laboratory has demonstrated for the first time that the weight of the cutlery could well enhance the taste of your meal. A large-scale dining experiment with more than 130 diners was conducted at a hotel restaurant in Scotland. While half of the attendees used the higher-quality cutlery normally used for banquets, the others used more conventional, lower-quality cutlery, normally used at the hotel’s staff canteen (the high-quality cutlery weighed about 3 times more than the cheaper type). The diners liked their main course (Trout with mashed potatoes, spinach and caper, and brown shrimp butter) more, thought it more artistically plated, and were willing to pay 15% more for it when eating with the heavier cutlery.

In other words, a very common set of utensils, present on tables in many parts of the world, can make the food ‘taste’ better (or worse). While cutlery is an ubiquitous tool present on many tables worldwide, research on how it can influence consumption behaviours and the perception of food is very scarce. 

This study provides insights on how elements such as its weight may affect our food experiences. The results reported in Flavour also bring further evidence to the notion that the shape and colour of the plate on which the food is served can affect how much diners enjoy food.