Recalled taste intensity, liking and habitual intake of commonly consumed foods

Marilyn C. Cornelis*, Michael G. Tordoff, Ahmed El-Sohemy, Rob M. van Dam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Taste intensity and quality affect the liking of foods, and determine food choice and consumption. We aimed to 1) classify commonly consumed foods based on recalled taste intensity for bitter, sweet, salty, sour, and fatty taste, and 2) examine the associations among recalled taste intensity, liking, and habitual consumption of foods. In Stage 1, 62 Canadian adults recalled the taste intensity of 120 common foods. Their responses were used to identify sets of 20–25 foods classified as strongly bitter, sweet, salty, sour or fatty-tasting. In Stage 2, 287 U.S. adults validated these selections, and let us reduce them to sets of 11–13 foods. Ratings of recalled taste intensity were consistent across age, sex and overweight status, with the exceptions that sweet, bitter and fatty-tasting foods were rated as more intense by women than by men. The recalled intensity ratings of the most bitter, salty and fatty foods (but not sour or sweet foods) were inversely correlated with liking and intake. The negative correlation between fatty taste intensity and fatty food liking was stronger among normal weight than among overweight participants. Our results suggest that the recalled taste intensity of foods is associated with food liking and habitual consumption, but the strength of these relationships varies by taste. The food lists based on taste intensity ratings provide a resource to efficiently calculate indices of exposure to the different tastes in future studies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)182-189
Number of pages8
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Bitter
  • Fatty
  • Liking
  • Salty
  • Sour
  • Sweet
  • Taste

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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