Acceptance of a reduced-salt food is likely to be influenced by a mismatch between the sensory characteristics of a reformulated product and a memory for a previously-encountered formulation. In two initial pilot studies we established the reliability of a new measure of memory for saltiness, based on a method of constant stimuli. We then used this technique to explore the effects of different patterns of repeated exposure on memory for the taste of a reduced-salt soup. Participants (N = 135) were assigned to one of four exposure patterns: (1) reduced-salt, (2) no salt reduction, i.e. regular-salt, (3) reduced- and regular-salt, in an alternating pattern, and (4) gradually declining salt concentration. In the final session, all participants received an identical reduced-salt soup. Memory for the saltiness of this sample was assessed, together with its expected liking. Our results indicate that different interactions with the test soup had little effect on taste memory. Nevertheless, (1) participants remembered the final exposure soup as saltier than the reduced-salt formulation that they had received and (2) remembered salt concentrations correlated with individual ideal salt concentrations. These findings are consistent with contemporary models of reconstructive memory and they illustrate the importance of understanding 'memory for saltiness' in the acceptance of reduced-salt formulations.
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- Brain and Behaviour
- Nutrition and Behaviour