The Science of Flavor: How Food Creates Memories

Joe Malicdem

What’s in a taste bud? Quite a lot, according to science, and your company should take note. For one thing, the sense of taste is closely linked to a person’s sense of smell, the one most strongly linked to memory. And flavors have incredible powers when it comes to activating certain moods. That’s why smart business leaders look for opportunities to introduce flavor where they can, creating positive associations when new relationships are being created. 

People like to bemoan having a sweet tooth, but the truth is that our primate ancestors did, too! Food that is sweet activates our brain’s reward center, which in turn motivates action and behavior. In other words, CEOs looking for ways to motivate personnel and create positive associations with their brand should look no further than the staff kitchen. Stocking yours with appealing snacks might be the most cost-effective decision you ever make. 

Why Taste and Smell Are So Emotionally Powerful 

Ever noticed how the taste of chocolate cake, coupled with the smell of blown-out candles, can immediately transport you back to a childhood birthday three decades ago? In the brain, the hippocampus is vital to a person’s memory, particularly long-term ones. A flavor can also connect with parts of the brain tied to emotion and smell. In other words, we are biologically wired to form strong memories around food.  

Taste and smell are closely connected for another reason. Because your nose and mouth are joined through the same airway, that morsel of chocolate is tasted and smelled at the same time. While your tongue is in charge of sensing sweet, salty, sour and bitter flavors, your sense of smell enables you to detect more subtle flavors for a more powerful emotional experience. 

Why Use Food to Create Positive Associations in the Boardroom 

There isn’t one specific reason or moment to activate these powerful senses and create positive associations. A single bite of gourmet popcorn or pretzels drizzled with chocolate can activate the brain’s reward mechanisms, which then motivate certain actions and behaviors – like motivating a prospective customer to follow up with you.  

Organizations can use the power of taste to create memories and human connections in many ways: 

  • To stand out from the crowd 
  • As a memorable gift to employees or clients 
  • For an in-person meeting or event 
  • To celebrate accomplishments and milestones 
  • To boost morale 
  • To improve brand association 

Chocolate Can Minimize Negative Feelings 

There’s a reason people turn to chocolate to take the edge off a bad break-up. Positive food experiences are also instrumental in turning short-term memories into long-term ones. But memories can be good or bad, which is why you should select snacks with positive impacts in mind. For instance, chocolate contains compounds that produce similar responses as opioids in the body (fortunately, without the downsides). When a client or staffer eats chocolate, dopamine is released in the brain, which can lower stress. So, it doesn’t just taste and smell delicious, but it also makes people happy.  

Still, everyone is different, and variety is the spice of life, as they say. A mix of high-quality, tasty snacks can be a standard of every successful enterprise. Just make sure you use a provider with a track record of excellence. With its wide array of hand-crafted, gourmet snack food options, Funky Chunky makes the ordering and delivery process easy by doing the work for you. Simply: 

  1. Select your gift. 
  2. Customize as needed. 
  3. Send us any necessary spreadsheets for contact information. 

We’ll handle the rest. Whether for a corporate event or in-house pleasure, Funky Chunky can provide gifts and snacks for any occasion. Contact us today to find out more about your options. 

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