Pungency in food perception and preference

John Prescott, Richard J. Stevenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (Scopus)


While sensations of pungency are characteristic of food in all cultures, relatively little attention has been given to trying to understand the role these sensations play in our perception of, and preference for, foods and food flavors. This review provides an overview of research on the psychophysics of the sensory system responsible for perception of pungency (the trigeminal nerve), current views on how preference for pungency develops, and the qualities of common pungent food ingredients and their interactions with food flavors. It is argued that understanding the role that pungency plays in foods is essential to successful development of acceptable food flavors, especially for those markets in Asia in which pungency is a defining characteristic of the cuisine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)665-698
Number of pages34
JournalFood Reviews International
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 1995
Externally publishedYes


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