Fast Food Nation: Why The Fries Taste Good

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The Evolution of Processed Foods I found the core reading for this assignment to not only just educational, but also eye-opening to say the least. The reading for this assignment was Fast Food Nation: Why the Fries Taste Good by Eric Schlosser. It gives detailed accounts of how the French fry has evolved from hard to prepare side dish at fast food restaurants to convenient and easy to make staple of the fast food industry. The article also gives great detail about how most of today’s foods are processed and treated with chemicals to not only make them look more desirable to eat, but also to taste and smell a certain way. The beginning of the report details the life of J.R. Simplot, a young man who dropped out of school at age 15 because of…show more content…
These scientists used their knowledge to create certain “natural” flavors by mixing these chemicals. Mixed in proper amounts, they are able to recreate flavors and smell that appeal to consumers. “The aroma of a food can be responsible for as much as 90 percent of its flavor. Taste buds offer a relatively limited means of detection, however, compared to the human olfactory system, which can perceive thousands of different chemical aromas.” (Schlosser). The food companies use these additives in their product to enhance the flavor of their products, making them more desirable. These scientists also used this technology to produce coloring additives to enhance the color of the food, using research that showed that looks were as important to consumers as taste. According to Schlosser, “About ninety percent of money that Americans spend on food is used to buy processed foods.” The American flavor industry produces roughly ten thousand new processed food products each year, with annual revenues of $1.4 billion. While most of the new products will fail, the ones that survive have distinct flavors created by a “flavorist” in a…show more content…
The definition of natural flavor under the Code of Federal Regulations is: “the essential oil, oleoresin, essence or extractive, protein hydrolysate, distillate, or any product of roasting, heating or enzymolysis, which contains the flavoring constituents derived from a spice, fruit or fruit juice, vegetable or vegetable juice, edible yeast, herb, bark, bud, root, leaf or similar plant material, meat, seafood, poultry, eggs, dairy products, or fermentation products thereof, whose significant function in food is flavoring rather than nutritional” (21CFR101.22). Basically, it has to come from a natural source. Artificial flavors, therefore, are those that are made from chemical mixtures. Natural and artificial flavors are often the exact same chemicals arrived from different production methods. The biggest difference is cost. The search for a natural chemical often requires a company to go to great lengths to obtain it, even though the exact same compound can be produced in a lab much cheaper. In the end, consumers end up paying more for a “natural” flavor even though there is no difference in the taste or the relative safeness of the “artificial” flavorings. The flavoring companies take great pride in keeping their secrets and employers closely guarded. And since they aren’t required to display the contents of what is in their flavorings, many consumers don’t know what it is

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