The Deceptive Sense Of Taste
The secret tricks of the food corporations
Let’s imagine we’re conducting an experiment: think about your favourite chocolate, how it melts in your mouth – the delicate, smooth consistency, its sensual cocoa flavour and velvety sweetness. Now, if you had to describe the flavour in precise detail, what would you say? Would your account include words such as “crisps”, “gherkins”, “peach” or even “sweat”? Probably not, although in reality all of these flavours form part of the unique taste of chocolate. In fact, chocolate’s distinctive taste comes from the interaction of 500 different flavours. This discovery by the German Research Centre for Food Chemistry has turned the whole field of taste research on its head. Although people have always eaten food, the scientific investigation of our sense of taste is relatively new. It’s a field of research that goes by the rather strange name of neurogastronomy and it aims to answer the following: what exactly happens when we taste? Why do we like certain foods more than others? And do some flavours affect our body weight?
Food companies have SENSORY LABORATORIES where FLAVOUR CHEMISTS work to develop new FLAVOURING AGENTS They’re far cheaper for the manufacturer to use than natural ingredients. More than 1.2 million tons of flavourings are produced worldwide every year.