A shout out to my blogging friend Brad, for making me aware of this story. Brad is a gifted poet, and you can find his poems at commonsensiblyspeaking.
The story he sent me is not the kind of nonsense you would find on his blog, but everything is fair game on Borden’s Blather.
The story is actually a few years old, but I must have missed it when it first came out. And when the news came out, it apparently just shattered some people’s worlds.
A Brandeis University neuropsychologist, Don Katz, who specializes in taste, claims that Skittles, despite their many colors, are all actually the same flavor. Most gummy candies are too. And so are Froot Loops.
Here’s what Katz had to say about the situation:
“The Skittles people, being much smarter than most of us, recognized that it is cheaper to make things smell and look different than it is to make them actually taste different. So, Skittles have different fragrances and different colors — but they all taste exactly the same.”
Katz says this works because our brains are used to processing certain sensory cues together. For example, our brains associate the color yellow, a lemon smell, and a slightly acidic taste with each other. When you’re offered two of these three sensory cues, your brain will fill in the blanks.
But there are exceptions. “There are some fruity candies in which they do specific flavorings in different ones; higher-end gummy bears actually do taste different,” Katz says. “But yeah, a lot of candy companies have figured out this is just a way to save money.”
So much for tasting the rainbow.
So I think tomorrow I’ll be heading out to the grocery store to buy some Skittles, Fruit Loops, and cheap gummy bears – all in the name of science, of course.