Taste is our fifth sense. Taste cells or receptors detect food and drink molecules on the tongue and then send signals to the brain to create an emotion. Subsequently, taste is associated with strong emotions. They can lead to a state of pleasure or displeasure. Originally, our sense of taste was used as a survival method, to distinguish between inedible foods and edible non-poisonous foods. Nowadays, taste is much more about pleasure. It drives a global industry of food manufacturing, and eating-out experiences and is a focal point for people’s enjoyment.

There are 5 basic tastes –

Sweet, Sour, Salty, Bitter, Savoury (Umami)

Umami is the taste of glutamate. It is associated with protein flavours.

The bumps on our tongues, called papillae, are home to our taste buds. The amount of papillae can vary from person to person. Generally, the more papillae that someone has, the more receptive and sensitive to tastes they are. Even to the point that they can detect flavours that others struggle to. Taste and flavour can be separated by smell. The aroma of a food or beverage can help you distinguish the flavour. Without smell, you may only be able to distinguish its taste category. Therefore, the aroma of food is as important as the taste in terms of the overall pleasure rating.

How does our sense of taste change with age?

Our food preferences change as we age… but why?

A key takeaway is that our preferences are malleable and can develop over time.

Why do we have taste preferences?

Why is one person’s favourite food, another person’s worst nightmare?

Our taste preferences are influenced by the look and smell of the food as well as environmental factors. Nature vs nurture plays an important role in creating taste preferences, even our genes can have an impact. For example, based on genetics, people or more less sensitive to certain tastes due to varying receptors. Moreover, greater exposure to new food tastes and flavours as a newborn and pre-natal can affect your taste preferences as you get older. Genetic influences, evolutionary instincts and environmental factors can all have an impact on a person’s taste preference which is why everyone’s preferences are different.

What are the most commonly liked flavours?

Despite people having varying preferences, there are some tastes and flavours which are generally liked by most people.

Find out more by emailing sales@plant-ex.com.

Flavours that our customers love include:






Plant-Ex are flavour experts and our flavourists use their knowledge of taste to create delicious and enjoyable flavours to cater for all different preferences. For more information about our products, contact us today!