The Bliss Point/ Overprocessed Foods
“Take the bag of chips away from me…..”
Have you said this?
You’re snacking out of a bag/bowl of chips, popcorn, cookies, sweets, whatever … and all of a sudden you snap out of the spell you’ve been under when you realize how much of the bag/bowl you’ve eaten….
No? JUST ME? okay…
Ever wonder why ultra-processed foods are so palatable?
It’s called the “BLISS POINT”
Bliss point is the amount of salt, sugar, and/or fat which optimizes deliciousness. Used in the creation of food products.*
Pioneering work on the bliss point was carried out by American market researcher and psychophysicist Howard Moskowitz, known for his successful work in product creation and optimization for foods ranging from spaghetti sauce to soft drinks. Moskowitz used the term, bliss point, to describe “that sensory profile where you like food the most.”
The bliss point for salt, sugar, and/or fat is a range where the perception is that there is neither too much nor too little. It’s ‘just the right amount‘ of saltiness, sweetness, or richness.
The human body has evolved to favor foods with these tastes. The brain responds with a “reward” in the form of a flood of endorphins. We remember how we got that reward and that drives us to do it again. This is an effect run by dopamine- a neurotransmitter.
Combinations of sugar, fat, and salt act synergistically, and are more rewarding than any single one. In food product optimization, the goal is to include two or three of these ingredients at their bliss point.
Applications of the bliss point in the food industry have been criticized for encouraging addiction-like behaviors around eating which may contribute to obesity and other health issues.
*Food Product: A type of food created and processed to be sold as a product.
The legal definition is, “Food in any sized package which is manufactured by a single manufacturer or which bears the same brand name.”