Flavor Scientists on Making 'Addictive' Flavors

'60 Minutes' looks at the science behind flavors and what this means for obesity
Staff Writer

Photo Sasabune Omakase Modified: Flickr/erin/CC 4.0

If you have some 15 minutes to spare while reorienting yourself after Labor Day Weekend, here's a clip from 60 Minutes that might make you put down those fruit snacks.

60 Minutes chatted with flavor scientists Jim Hassel and Michelle Hagan about what they do to create flavors, and while it's fascinating, it does make us think twice about processed foods.

On creating fruit flavors, Hassel says, "We want a burst in the beginning. And maybe a finish that doesn't linger too much so that you want more of it." In a sense, they're creating an addictive taste. And fruit flavors? They have a billion different types.

Raspberry, for example, can have a bunch of different flavors. "You can make 'em jammy. You can make 'em sweet. You can make 'em floral. You can make 'em seedy. It's endless, really," Hagan says. "And the flavor ingredients might not have ever met a raspberry." 

Watch below to listen to both sides of the argument, especially with FDA former head Dr. David Kessler, who says, "We're living in a food carnival. These flavors are so stimulating, they hijack our brain."

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