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Inside the Lab That’s Inventing Your Next Favorite Flavor

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Brian Plymel
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One day, I drove from my Brooklyn home to suburban Baltimore to visit the company s headquarters and observe a group of people at work who are, in essence, paid to taste.

Although many of us may associate the McCormick name with tins or bottles of spices, much of the company s business now comes in providing custom flavor solutions for products higher up the food chain.

When a consumer says, I want avocado or guacamole, they will have a very clear concept in their mind—which actually might not be avocado at all.

I joined Jason Ridgway and Tess Aldredge, two of McCormick s senior sensory analysts, in a small room that faces, via a two-way mirror, a dimly red-lit room with a round table, around which a number of people were slowly nibbling pretzels from small paper cups.

An oil starts to go bad after a little bit; the consumer will be happily eating something that we would consider rancid, and wouldn t even notice it.

As Howard Moskowitz had suggested to me, part of the popularity of Coca-Cola versus, say, an orange soda is its more complex flavor blend.

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