Food oral processing as the bridge between food texture, microstructure and sensory perception has gained enormous interest in the last decade. This review provides an overview of the role of the microstructure of soft- and semi-solid foods in food oral processing and sensory perception. Phase separated mixed protein polysaccharide gels and emulsion-filled gels are described as suitable model foods to investigate food oral processing systematically. Special attention is given to the sensory perception of texture, taste and interactions thereof. Several approaches to reduce the salt and sugar content of semi- and soft-solid foods without compromising taste are reviewed. These reduction approaches are based on an understanding of food oral processing in relation to the microstructure of the foods and its breakdown. (c) 2013 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.