“I didn’t grow up eating this as a kid, so I have nothing to compare it to. But I like it. Could it use some more strawberry, though?”
“Interesting! I ate this every summer when I was young, and to me, it’s way too sweet. It needs more of those tart notes you’d expect when you hear this flavor’s name.”
At a recent taste testing session for most recent flavor-in-development release, our team was once again fascinated by the uniqueness of each person’s taste perception. I mean, we’re all human, so shouldn’t there be some general agreement about what tastes good and what tastes, well…bleh?
April, one of our food scientists on the flavor development team, explained why that’s absolutely not the case. “There are lots of factors that make each person’s taste perception unique. For example, age. In middle age, taste buds begin to be less effective. If you like a teaspoon of honey in your tea at 30, you'll have to put two or three teaspoons in your tea at age 70 to get the same perceived sweetness,” she says.
“Also, your health status matters. We’ve learned this from COVID for sure, but other illnesses like cancer can impact how things taste. And if you’re pregnant, that’s a big factor, too,” she notes, giggling. “Just think about all the jokes around strange cravings! It’s the body’s way of making sure Mom’s getting certain nutrients for her baby.”
Even more fascinating are the environmental factors that impact how a given food tastes to each of us. “If you’re super hungry, you’re less sensitive to sweet and saltiness,” she notes. “And the temperature of your food also matters. When food is warmed up, it heightens the perceived sweetness and decreases the saltiness and bitterness. Also, the order in which you taste foods affects how you experience them. If you eat something that’s very strong in flavor and then taste something bland, you’re less able to notice the flavor in the milder food.”
Taste Testing Tips
All this input got us thinking it would be great to offer our customers some easy tips to standardize their own experiences with all our flavors so they get as close as possible to the same version of their taste buds when comparing flavors. Here’s what April recommends:
- Avoid wearing cologne or perfume prior to tasting Oats Overnight since around 80% of what we taste comes from our sense of smell.
- Don’t eat anything 30 minutes before or after you taste a new flavor.
- Don’t taste new flavors when you’re under the weather.
- If you’re trying a few flavors at a time, cleanse your palate between each taste with a saltine cracker and some water.
Taste Test With Us
Every Oats Overnight flavor we develop is done so in direct partnership with our subscribers. Join our team of taste testers when you subscribe and get a free bonus pack of our flavor-in-development each month. We’ll send you an email survey and collect your thoughts to determine if it’s ready to release to the public or still has room for improvement.