Retronasal olfaction in vegetable liking and disliking.

TitleRetronasal olfaction in vegetable liking and disliking.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2013
AuthorsLim, J, Padmanabhan, A
JournalChem Senses
Date Published2013 Jan
KeywordsAdolescent, Adult, Female, Food Preferences, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Smell, Taste, Vegetables

While previous research has suggested that bitterness is a key determinant of vegetable rejection, it is unknown what role odor may play. We therefore investigated the impact of retronasal odors on hedonic responses to 4 vegetables. Subjects (N = 132) tasted small samples with the nose open and closed and rated the degree of liking/disliking, as well as the perceived intensity of sweetness, bitterness, saltiness, and vegetable flavor. The subjects were classified as "likers" or "dislikers" of each vegetable. The degree to which "likers" liked and "dislikers" disliked the vegetables was significantly less in the nose-closed condition, indicating that retronasal odor was a significant driver of vegetable hedonics. In contrast, bitterness ratings for all 4 vegetables did not differ significantly between the groups. The perceived intensity of vegetable flavor also did not differ significantly between groups, implying that the quality of vegetable odors rather than their perceived intensity drove the hedonic ratings. In a follow-up experiment, returning subjects (N = 89) rated the degree of liking/disliking of the vegetable odors alone, which were presented retronasally. Liking/disliking of specific odors was positively correlated with that for the sampled vegetables across all stimuli (r = 0.32~0.57). Overall, these results suggest that retronasal odor plays an important role in vegetable liking/disliking.

Alternate JournalChem. Senses
PubMed ID23001321