Perceived Sweetness and Redness in Colored Sucrose Solutions



    1. Author Johnson, formerly with the Univ. of Massachusetts is now affiliated with Mead Johnson Nutritional Division, Evansville, IN 47721.
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    1. Author Clydesdale is affiliated with the Dept. of Food Science & Nutrition, Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station, Univ. of Massachusetts, Amhers, MA 01003.
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  • Presented at the 41st Annual Meeting of the Institute of Food Technologists, Atlanta, GA, June 7–10, 1981.

  • Paper No. 2494. Massachusetts Agricultural Experiment Station, Univ. of Massachusetts at Amherst. This research was supported in part from Experimental Station Project No. NE 116.


Perceived sweetness and redness in five red colored solutions containing 0.25–5.0% FD&C Red 40 were quantified using magnitude estimation. Three panels of 14 subjects each evaluated solutions containing five sucrose concentrations ranging from 2.7–5.3%. Color had a statistically significant effect (p≤0.05) on sweetness perception in 80% of the treatments. Sweetness in darker colored solutions was 2–10% greater than the lighter reference when the actual sucrose concentration was 1% less. Sweetness increased linearly over all sucrose concentrations and over a narrow range of color intensities. Color was measured using the Gardner XL-23 Colorimeter and the G.E. Recording Spectrophotometer. All color measurements were converted to L*, a*, b* and the value arctan (a*/b*) - used to represent color intensity. The perception of increasing color intensity was a linear power law function of arctan (a*/b*).