Pinapples and truffles: Bompas & Parr give us 5 foodie facts for advertisers

Bompas on foodie facts you didn't know

Bompas on foodie facts you didn’t know

Sam Bompas, one half of the dynamic food duo Bompas & Parr (also known as the Jellymongers) is speaking in IPC Media’s ‘Inspired Conversation: Why food is the new fashion’ talk at 2pm.

Here, he tells LIVE@AdvertisingWeek 5 fascinating food facts that advertisers could used to involve food in their marketing. Use them to your creative advantage to effectively articulate taste and smell in your work.

1) I’ve heard that Coca-Cola measures how well it’s doing in the States by the percentage of the nation’s stomach it fills. The good news is your stomach cannot physically rupture from overeating. It can accommodate punishing volumes without exploding. Frustratingly your overloaded body has an array of other strategies to deal with the strain. In competitive eating circles these are termed ‘roman techniques’.

2) Most folk are far more visually literate than they are literate in terms of the odours, textures and tastes that compose a mouthful of food. This is well illustrated by truffles. Physicist and flavour expert Dr Len Fisher points out that “a full 40 percent of the population are ‘tone deaf’ to the core odours in truffles that gourmets rave about.” But most people go wild for a truffle dish.

3) Your visual cortex processes information 10 times quicker than your smell or taste apparatus. So most people (experts even) will taste white wine dyed with red food dye and describe it as they would a lusty red wine.

4) The characteristic aroma of fresh pineapple? Ethyle3-(methyl-thio)propanoate, with a supporting cast of lactones, hydrocarbons, and aldehydes. Easy to approximate if you have access to the right chemicals catalogue.

5) Environmental factors significantly change your flavour perception. This was the finding of one of my favourite academic papers, published in 2003 by Professor John Edwards. His team at Bournemouth University found that the same dish – chicken à la king – tasted different, depending on the environment in which it was eaten.

The meal was tasted in ten distinct locations, including a school, a care home, an army base and a swanky restaurant. The more salubrious the surroundings, the higher the score. In the posh joints it was rated as moist, tasty and filling, while in one of the dives it was perceived to be claggy, dry and disgusting.

In other words, if you eat in a space that looks magical, with proper service, the food and drink will be awesome – or at least you won’t notice that it’s grim. The people who eat at the Pirate’s Dinner Adventure in Orlando, Florida, don’t worry how Pillager’s Pork or Treasure’s Chicken comes, because they’re eating in front of a fully rigged pirate galleon and being served by wenches.