What Is It About the Combination of Sweet and Salty Flavors?

What Is It About the Combination of Sweet and Salty Flavors?

Delicious snacks like kettle corn, salted caramels and chocolate-covered pretzels have one thing in common – they all combine sweet and salty flavors. Today, there are more salty/sweet foods available in stores than ever before and most people are grateful for that. What is it about the combination of sweet and salty flavors that we crave so much?

It seems like a strange combination for your palate, but your taste buds think it’s amazingly delicious! Something happens when you mix these two flavors - your senses are overwhelmed by a magical sensation and you continue to crave that combined taste long after you’ve consumed it.

Truth is that scientists have discovered that we all have five primary tastes -- sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami. Umami is a Japanese word for “savory” and is a taste that has been newly discovered. Each of your taste buds can sense all of these flavors distinctly.

Salt is an essential nutrient for our bodies, but it can also act as a flavor enhancer. When sugar and salt are mixed together, the salt enhances the sugar’s flavor. The right ratio of sweet and salty flavors creates a positive response in your brain’s pleasure center which builds a craving for more of that flavor.

The combination of sweet and salty is part of a flavor-layering technique chefs use in their cooking. With flavor layering, two or more flavors can be combined in your mouth without giving you a specific taste.

Another reason we love sweet and salty flavors is a brain experience called sensory specific satiety. Because humans are omnivores, we're wired to desire a large variety of flavors. If we only eat one type of food that tastes one way, eventually we'll get tired of the same taste over and over again. By avoiding sensory specific satiety, salty/sweet tastes even better and keeps you coming back for more.

When it comes to cookies and confections, there’s no better way to satisfy that sweet and salty craving. There is an unlimited combination of salty and sweet ingredients used in baking and confectionaries – we specialize in custom cookie creations that will satisfy your cravings and will match the theme of your special event.

Contact us to learn more about our delicious cookies and custom confections!