When it comes to eating and drinking, multiple factors from diverse sensory modalities have been shown to influence multisensory flavour perception and liking. These factors have heretofore been strictly divided into either those that are intrinsic to the food itself (e.g., food colour, aroma, texture), or those that are extrinsic to it (e.g., related to the packaging, receptacle or external environment). Given the obvious public health need for sugar reduction, the present review aims to compare the relative influences of product-intrinsic and product-extrinsic factors on the perception of sweetness. Evidence of intrinsic and extrinsic sensory influences on sweetness are reviewed. Thereafter, we take a cognitive neuroscience perspective and evaluate how differences may occur in the way that food-intrinsic and extrinsic information become integrated with sweetness perception. Based on recent neuroscientific evidence, we propose a new framework of multisensory flavour integration focusing not on the food-intrinsic/extrinsic divide, but rather on whether the sensory information is perceived to originate from within or outside the body. This framework leads to a discussion on the combinability of intrinsic and extrinsic influences, where we refer to some existing examples and address potential theoretical limitations. To conclude, we provide recommendations to those in the food industry and propose directions for future research relating to the need for long-term studies and understanding of individual differences.
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