Credit: Joe Sarah

We write a lot about high-tech solutions to change the way food is cooked and consumed, but there is interesting, science-driven work being done to explore how design and form impact food taste as well. Fast Co Design writes about the work of designer Andreas Fabian – who has a PhD in spoons – and scientist Charles Michel to use design and scientific principals to enhance how cutlery can improve the perception of food’s taste.

Together they created the Goûte, a glass spoon modeled using biomimicry, the process of using design in nature to inspire manmade products. In the case of Michel and Fabian, their natural inspiration was the thing all humans use at one time or another to taste food – the finger.

The two began to think about the intimate experiences people can have with food when they’re unconcerned about proper manners—licking your finger while cooking, licking your plate when finished. What if they could create a new kind of utensil that mimicked that feeling, bringing a new level of mindfulness and joy to eating?

After developing the Goûte, the team paired up with Oxford University’s Crossmodal Research Laboratory to test the utensil’s impact on flavor perception. Participants used both spoons and the finger-inspired tool and found “participants reported perceiving the food as tasting significantly better than when eating with a conventional spoon.” People reported that the yogurt even tasted sweeter when using the Goûte as compared with the spoon.

The processing of using low-tech design principals to change the way food tastes is a fascinating undertaking. You can read more about the Goûte and the impact of design on taste here.