Demonstrating cross-modal enhancement in a real food with a modified ABX test

Gloria Wang, Alyssa J. Bakke, John E. Hayes, Helene Hopfer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Given widespread concerns about sugar intake and health, manufacturers are reformulating their products to help address consumer demand. One common strategy is the use of non-nutritive sweeteners; however, these may come with undesirable bitter and/or metallic side tastes or temporal profiles. One alternative sugar reduction strategy involves leveraging perceptual interactions between taste and smell. Prior work suggests that congruent aromas (appropriate for combination with sugar) can enhance sweetness when added to certain foods. However, demonstrating such enhancement psychophysically is not straight forward, as the conceptual strategy used by assessors can influence whether or not enhancement is observed. Here, a non-scaling approach was used to test for such enhancement. Two simple extensions of the ABX test (namely, matching in ABCX and ABCDX tasks) were used to demonstrate the effect of a congruent (vanilla) and incongruent (beef) aroma on sweetness perception in sweetened milk. Our data suggest both flavors were able to cause enhancement in the flavored milk samples, but enhancement effect was greater for the congruent aroma when compared to the incongruent aroma (p < 0.05). Additionally, greater enhancement was found via the modified ABX matching test, as compared to data obtained via a scaling task.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)206-213
Number of pages8
JournalFood Quality and Preference
StatePublished - Oct 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


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