Hooked on Flavor Crystal

Articles about the flavoring industry are like articles about cheerleaders—titillating yet comforting in their totally-not-surprising thrills. Via the Wall Street Journal comes an article that could have been written at least five years ago, about how Americans are really into intense flavors now, including Latin ones and Asian ones.

Apparently plain ol' butter flavor doesn't do it for us anymore. Flavorists are all about brown butter. Doritos now come in "First-, Second- and Third-Degree Burn," to give customers, who are into "late-night partying" and "action-packed video games," the "extreme" experience they crave. (I remember when "extreme" used to mean bungee jumping and snowboarding and stuff.) Other EXTREME developments: "Wrigley Jr. Co. is using new technologies like textured crystals it calls Micro-Bursts to deliver a more intense flavor." No word on whether these are the same crystals that have always been in gum.

A note of solemn reflection is struck before the article turns into a PR event for McCormick Spices: "As people crave intensity in flavor, some traditionalists are wondering if diners will become desensitized to natural flavors." I've been wondering this, too, along with whether people will stop sending real letters now, what with all the email and the texts and stuff. Why, what will happen to stamps if that happens? Will cool ones keep coming out?

Image source: Flickr member TomGazpacho under Creative Commons