Each of us has its own taste for bitter and sweet flavours in food, but it is true that we have an enormously higher sensitivity to bitter than we have for sweet. We also know, both from research and from common knowledge, that we tend to prefer sweet over bitter. There is an evolutionary explanation for this.
In nature, most of the poisonous compounds have a bitter taste. By using this survival strategy, the subjects sensitive and averse to bitter tastes avoided poisonous foods and managed to live and to pass on this vital information in the genetic code of their descendants, preserving the future of the species.
The information acquired during evolution is now at the basis of the choices we make every day, influencing our behaviour, tastes and purchasing habits.
All companies should take these aspects into consideration when formulating their products.
However, in the real world, very often companies rely on the sensory skills of a single super-expert (e.g. the cheesemaker, the master brewer, the oenologist, etc.).
This practice does not always yield optimal results. According to a study published by Buisson, up to 75% of new products do not survive the first year of sales and are pulled off the shelves, because they fail to meet the consumers’ expectations. It doesn’t take a business degree to understand that this is pretty bad.
This happens because:
This is why that large companies do not entrust life-or-death decisions on their product to a single individual, but use sensory analysis to understand the opinion of consumers and obtain objective results.