"Flavours" That Don't Taste Like The Actual Thing

Ogdred Weary

Sooner than expected.
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Messages
2,073
Likes
3,363
Points
159
#1
I've had this conversation with many people over the years with vary degrees of (dis)agreement. We have been exposed to vast amounts of processed foods for several decades and many of these are ones that imitate the flavours of actual food without actually being that food, i.e. various types of confectionary/sweets/candy being "fruit" flavoured or crisps having various savoury flavours.

However, I contend that in most cases these don't taste very much like the foodstuffs they simulate: strawberry sweets don't taste like strawberries, or even especially close, but there is an established "strawberry" flavours that all these sweets have, same goes for yoghurt, ice cream etc. Likewise beef crisps taste nothing like actual beef but all beef crisps having a similar "beef flavour" and chicken crisps are nothing even remotely like actual chicken. This is compounded by the fact that for many years most meat flavoured crisps were vegetarian, in recent years more expensive crisps have had actual beef or cow at least in them, there is slightly different flavour but it still doesn't taste much like actual beef. I presume most sweets don't actually contain any fruit either.

Essentially, we are living in a world of simulated flavours that have reference to other synthetic flavours rather than the thing they are marketed to imitate, a little like Baudrillard's simulacra. I bring this up because it was self evident from me from early childhood but many people seem not to notice this, which I find difficult to fathom. What say you fellow Forteans?
 

James_H

And I like to roam the land
Joined
May 18, 2002
Messages
6,700
Likes
3,975
Points
259
#2
I (half) remember an interesting program about this on the radio. Wish I could remember more but I think that synthesised flavours really took off in the 70s.

I guess any distinctive flavour is made up of a set of aromatic chemical compounds in various proportions. You can synthesise the flavor by doing putting these compounds together yourself, though it's going to lack a lot of subtlety.

There are also other factors. I aIways felt a disconnect between cola and Cola-flavoured sweets until I realised that the sweets taste like warm cola: when drinking Coke our mouth is informed by other sensory cues like the bubbles and serving temperature.
 

Ogdred Weary

Sooner than expected.
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Messages
2,073
Likes
3,363
Points
159
#4
My guess is that it might be impossible to synthesize the exact flavour for mos things. Cola flavoured sweets do taste quite close to some brands of cola - like shop's own versions, rather than Coke or Pepsi.
 

Ogdred Weary

Sooner than expected.
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Messages
2,073
Likes
3,363
Points
159
#7
I remember having playground discussions about this - how Cherry Drops tasted of cherry-flavoured things, not cherries.
That's one of the most striking examples, I love actual cherries and hate cherry flavoured things, to the point where I'm almost gagging. Likewise almonds, love the actual nuts, will actually gag at anything almond flavoured - marzipan, amaretto, biscotti etc even the smell makes me feel sick.

There's a sort of contradiction to my OP there, in that those things actually contain almonds but whatever processes are used to make the nuts into those products utterly transforms the flavour for me. Glace cherries are the same and oddly actually taste of "cherry flavouring" not actual cherries.
 

Ladyloafer

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Feb 21, 2019
Messages
520
Likes
988
Points
93
#8
That's one of the most striking examples, I love actual cherries and hate cherry flavoured things, to the point where I'm almost gagging. Likewise almonds, love the actual nuts, will actually gag at anything almond flavoured - marzipan, amaretto, biscotti etc even the smell makes me feel sick.

There's a sort of contradiction to my OP there, in that those things actually contain almonds but whatever processes are used to make the nuts into those products utterly transforms the flavour for me. Glace cherries are the same and oddly actually taste of "cherry flavouring" not actual cherries.
Exactly the same for me for those 2 foods. Actual almonds don't taste 'almondy' compared to the flavouring.

A lot of sweet foods just taste of 'sweet' and not of whatever flavour they are pretending to be. But then a lot of fruit has no flavour much these days either. thats partly due to forced out of season growing but also a deliberate breeding thing. theres a name for it, I'll look it up.

Speaking of cherry flavour I bought a box of mr kiplings fruit pies, containing cherry, apple&blackcurrent and plain apple. However there was no way to tell the pies apart! There was some kind of imprint on some of the pies but it was so abstract it was still pot luck at to which flavour you were getting. So I took my pick, and it was red flavour. I took this to be cherry, and was a little peeved, but it tasted of nothing at all. just 'very sweet'. A few more bites and something started to taste through. Kind of cherry-ish, but not really. None of the other pies tasted of their fruits either. I think the only way to tell them apart was the colour.
 

James_H

And I like to roam the land
Joined
May 18, 2002
Messages
6,700
Likes
3,975
Points
259
#9
There's a sort of contradiction to my OP there, in that those things actually contain almonds but whatever processes are used to make the nuts into those products utterly transforms the flavour for me. Glace cherries are the same and oddly actually taste of "cherry flavouring" not actual cherries.
glacé and 'maraschino' cherries (not to be confused with real maraschino cherries, which sound delicious) are basically bleached and reflavoured, killing any ghost of a cherry flavour they might once have contained.
 

Swifty

doesn't negotiate with terriers
Joined
Sep 15, 2013
Messages
24,949
Likes
29,860
Points
284
#10
Frosty Jacks, Omega, Diamond White and other 8.5% cider if you're buying this devil's piss in the UK ... it's almost exclusively brewed in Aston, Birmingham, by coincidence where I originate from (as well as Black Sabbath) and has never even heard of things called 'apples' .. but it's cheap and 8.5% so there's always that.
 

Ogdred Weary

Sooner than expected.
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Messages
2,073
Likes
3,363
Points
159
#11
glacé and 'maraschino' cherries (not to be confused with real maraschino cherries, which sound delicious) are basically bleached and reflavoured, killing any ghost of a cherry flavour they might once have contained.
Take a natural product, denude it of its flavour, essentially physically change it in to something else then add new flavour to produce an inferior new item. The utter waste of modern industry right in a nutsell.

Or cherry skin.
 

Ogdred Weary

Sooner than expected.
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Messages
2,073
Likes
3,363
Points
159
#12
Frosty Jacks, Omega, Diamond White and other 8.5% cider if you're buying this devil's piss in the UK ... it's almost exclusively brewed in Aston, Birmingham, by coincidence where I originate from (as well as Black Sabbath) and has never even heard of things called 'apples' .. but it's cheap and 8.5% so there's always that.
I was more of a White Lightening Man myself.
 

Ogdred Weary

Sooner than expected.
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Messages
2,073
Likes
3,363
Points
159
#13
Exactly the same for me for those 2 foods. Actual almonds don't taste 'almondy' compared to the flavouring.

A lot of sweet foods just taste of 'sweet' and not of whatever flavour they are pretending to be. But then a lot of fruit has no flavour much these days either. thats partly due to forced out of season growing but also a deliberate breeding thing. theres a name for it, I'll look it up.

Speaking of cherry flavour I bought a box of mr kiplings fruit pies, containing cherry, apple&blackcurrent and plain apple. However there was no way to tell the pies apart! There was some kind of imprint on some of the pies but it was so abstract it was still pot luck at to which flavour you were getting. So I took my pick, and it was red flavour. I took this to be cherry, and was a little peeved, but it tasted of nothing at all. just 'very sweet'. A few more bites and something started to taste through. Kind of cherry-ish, but not really. None of the other pies tasted of their fruits either. I think the only way to tell them apart was the colour.
Re: almonds. I had some cashew liquor a few months ago and it tasted exactly like amaretto, so the same process has a similar effect on at least one other type of nut.

I've noticed some fruits, mainly apples losing their taste down the years, I've also noticed that apple cores go brown far less quickly, sometimes not at all - they just dry out. I assumed it was down to intensive farming, overuse of industrial fertiliser and degraded soils but I'm sure there's even more going on, like breeding as you say.
 

Ladyloafer

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Feb 21, 2019
Messages
520
Likes
988
Points
93
#14
Re: almonds. I had some cashew liquor a few months ago and it tasted exactly like amaretto, so the same process has a similar effect on at least one other type of nut.

I've noticed some fruits, mainly apples losing their taste down the years, I've also noticed that apple cores go brown far less quickly, sometimes not at all - they just dry out. I assumed it was down to intensive farming, overuse of industrial fertiliser and degraded soils but I'm sure there's even more going on, like breeding as you say.
I can't find the links I was thinking off but basically fruit has been bred to be sweeter over the years, which drowns out its taste. Also a lot of fruit is stored, chilled for a long time which lessens flavour. Whilst it has been traditional to store certain fruits and veggies over winter, there is nothing natural about the way it is done now. They still have a degree of nutrition but are bland.
Sugar as measured in food is called The Brix test, (this link is too technical for me.)
 

Swifty

doesn't negotiate with terriers
Joined
Sep 15, 2013
Messages
24,949
Likes
29,860
Points
284
#15
I was more of a White Lightening Man myself.
Is it just me or does 'reassuringly expensive' Stella Artois instead taste of cheap metal that's still being electroplated ? .. it most certainly doesn't taste of beer .. 'wife beater' effect observations aside on the people who drink it ? ..
 

Timble2

Imaginary Person
Joined
Feb 9, 2003
Messages
5,743
Likes
1,190
Points
234
Location
In a Liminal Zone
#16
Smokey bacon flavour crisps, peanuts, and other savoury snack don't really taste much like actual bacon, they have umami, smokey tones and are generally salty, but they're more their own thing(s).
 

Ogdred Weary

Sooner than expected.
Joined
Apr 2, 2012
Messages
2,073
Likes
3,363
Points
159
#18
Is it just me or does 'reassuringly expensive' Stella Artois instead taste of cheap metal that's still being electroplated ? .. it most certainly doesn't taste of beer .. 'wife beater' effect observations aside on the people who drink it ? ..
It tastes of British High Street On a Saturday Night, actual Belgian Stella is a completely different drink and genuinely nice.
 

Swifty

doesn't negotiate with terriers
Joined
Sep 15, 2013
Messages
24,949
Likes
29,860
Points
284
#19
It tastes of British High Street On a Saturday Night, actual Belgian Stella is a completely different drink and genuinely nice.
You strike me as the kind of man not afraid to throw cheese at a baby Ogdred, if the Belgians are capable of growing Stella on their own terms and you're willing to vouch for them, I'll take your word for it.
 

Shady

Mary Queen of Scots...temping as DEATHS Kitty
Joined
Apr 24, 2011
Messages
7,326
Likes
8,525
Points
284
#20
I love 'cherry' flavoured things, but not real cherries, Loooooove Marachino ones and the cherry drops, but it has to be the round ones, the oval ones taste shite. I dont like almonds, but love marzipan and ammereto etc

The fruit salad does not taste the same, i have had one a couple of days ago and threw the packet out today
 

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
12,462
Likes
14,036
Points
309
Location
Out of Bounds
#21
I've had problems with this issue since early childhood (the 1950's).

The first faux flavor to gag me was 'orange'. I never thought the popular 'orange' soft drinks of the time (e.g., Orange Crush) tasted anything like real oranges.

There was an ostensibly orange-flavored prescription syrup I had to ingest 'way too much of during my childhood illnesses that left a taste memory so horrifying I still choke on anything that insinuates it.

I was always fond of grapes, but I can't say any of the allegedly 'grape' confections or soft drinks ever tricked my taste buds into believing they had any relationship with the fruit.

By the time I was in my twenties (1970's) I was avoiding pop foods and concentrating on the 'real' things. Since then I rarely taste artificially flavored sweets / sodas, and when I do they all seem pretty much the same except for relative tartness.
 

Timble2

Imaginary Person
Joined
Feb 9, 2003
Messages
5,743
Likes
1,190
Points
234
Location
In a Liminal Zone
#23
I love 'cherry' flavoured things, but not real cherries, Loooooove Marachino ones and the cherry drops, but it has to be the round ones, the oval ones taste shite. I dont like almonds, but love marzipan and ammereto etc

The fruit salad does not taste the same, i have had one a couple of days ago and threw the packet out today
I'm the opposite, I like actual cherries and cherry juice, but in my option "cherry flavour" food and drink items range from unpleasant to vile (e.g. Cherry Coke). However, almonds, I'm not a fan, I'll pick thick marzipan off cakes (Battenberg's OK because the marzipan is usually thin), Bakewell tarts' are a bit of a gamble depending on how almondy they are, marzipan petit fours - definite noes.
 

kamalktk

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Feb 5, 2011
Messages
4,539
Likes
5,530
Points
209
#24
I like "coffee flavored", but I don't like actual coffee. Any coffee drink I get is drowned in creams and sugars, like a frappucino.
 

dr wu

Doctor Prog
Joined
Mar 12, 2002
Messages
1,906
Likes
1,248
Points
184
Location
Indiana
#25
Isn't the Stella Artois usually in cans? Don't drink beer from cans is a good rule of thumb.
Only seen it in bottles in the US.....it's liked by both my daughters...so it must be popular with young women these days..?
1551810333603.png
 

Ladyloafer

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Feb 21, 2019
Messages
520
Likes
988
Points
93
#26
I'm the opposite, I like actual cherries and cherry juice, but in my option "cherry flavour" food and drink items range from unpleasant to vile (e.g. Cherry Coke). However, almonds, I'm not a fan, I'll pick thick marzipan off cakes (Battenberg's OK because the marzipan is usually thin), Bakewell tarts' are a bit of a gamble depending on how almondy they are, marzipan petit fours - definite noes.
So thats 3 of us that like cherries but not cherry flavour. And also don't like almond flavour.

I wonder if there is something in both of those 'flavours' that is the same?
 

Bigphoot2

Not sprouts! I hate sprouts.
Joined
Jul 30, 2005
Messages
6,219
Likes
15,145
Points
294
#27
I was given a bottle of Jim Beam Red Stag - bourbon with a "black cherry" flavour. It was vile - like really nasty medicine and not at all like cherry. One sip and it went down the sink.
 

Bad Bungle

Dingo took my tray bake.
Joined
Oct 13, 2018
Messages
1,038
Likes
2,561
Points
153
Location
The Chilterns
#30
My Mum always made Danish pastries with marzipan when I was a kid - it's all "fruit" fillings only at the Bakery these days (so acidic it burns the roof of my mouth). Love the sour cherry sweets, they taste like the real small wild cherries - ironically I won't eat the real wild cherries because they're so sour.
 
Top