Bitter, sweet, sour, salty…
From French Croissants and Italian Gelato to British Fish and Chips, Belgium Waffles, Dutch Appeltaart and German Brezels, food traditions and preferences in different countries have existed forever.
But are there also preferences when it comes to the flavour itself? Flavours fall into five categories: bitter, sweet, sour, salty and umami.
Our perception and preferences surrounding these flavours are influenced by an array of surprising factors – from cultural and environmental impacts, to our olfactory receptors; in fact, studies have shown that up to 80% of the flavour we perceive comes from smell, not taste. Now, air up – the unique bottle that tricks your brain into thinking you’re drinking flavoured water through your sense of smell – uncovers the national differences with a first of its kind flavour map.
air up has now unveiled data on the favourite flavours present across the European continent. Interestingly, the delicate palettes of Europe’s capitals of fine wine and haute cuisine, France and Italy, favoured the subtle tones of Peach, whereas, in Brits favoured sweet treats like Raspberry & Lemon. The comparison also shows that the citric undertones of Orange & Vanilla are most popular in Switzerland and the Netherlands, whilst Cherry stole the hearts of Germans and Belgians respectively.
What is retronasal smell? Studies have shown that up to 80% of the flavour we perceive comes from smell, not taste, which is why the smell of food is so linked to appetite and why people hold their nose when they eat or drink something unpleasant. When we eat or drink, flavour-filled air rises up to our noses and takes our senses beyond the five basic tastes of sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami.
The first prototype for air up was developed by Lena Jüngst and Tim Jäger in 2016 and spent three years in development, including a Master’s thesis on aromas, to combine innovative design and the neuroscience behind the idea and turn it into a real product. Since then, air up has successfully launched in Germany, France, Belgium, Switzerland, Austria and the Netherlands, with more than half a million customers already. Now Lena and the team are bringing this innovative way to drink water to the UK.
“air up harnesses this clever bit of science by infusing flavoured air into every sip of water from the bottle. One of 25 different flavours will be added in bubbles every time you drink and it is this that will give your 100% pure water its flavour. Each pod contains natural flavourings and scents that infuse with ambient air to be added to the pure water, these flavours range from Lime and Orange-Passionfruit to Cola and Iced Coffee with many others in between.” – airup spokesperson