Bad Apples


No kidding – that’s one BAD apple!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science.

When choosing apples, do you grab the brightest one? Maybe you should give that off-colored produce a second look!

Laura Bolos from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and colleagues recruited over a hundred people for a fruity survey. The participants viewed over thirty pictures of apples. Some were perfectly colored and shaped, others were discolored and damaged. The subjects were asked if they EXPECTED to like or dislike the apples. 

Next, everyone snacked on slices the researchers SAID were from the pictured apples. After tasting, they reported whether they ACTUALLY liked the apples. BUT there’s a twist — ALL the slices were from perfect looking fruit!

Results? Participants EXPECTED to enjoy the pretty apples most. But in the taste test, they disliked the ones they THOUGHT were sub-standard! This suggests we really eat with our eyes – not JUST our taste buds! 

The researchers hope embracing ugly produce will lower global food waste. Maybe try odd-shaped fruits with your eyes CLOSED.

And — try lowering your “grape expectations!” 

Reference: Bolos, L. A., Lagerkvist, C.-J., Normann, A., & Wendin, K. (2021). In the eye of the beholder: Expected and actual liking for apples with visual imperfections. Food Quality and Preference, 87, 104065.