How Does Mouthfeel Impact Your Taste Buds?

Posted September 15, 2023 by in Health + Fitness

Who doesn’t love the silky texture of peach skin and the soft, juicy center? But did you know the texture of the peach has a lasting impression on your taste perception? When deciding what foods to add to your daily menu, you likely pick products that you’ve always liked, but maybe you haven’t thought about how the crunchy granola you love actually involves more than one sensory perception. 

Indeed, the food you eat lingers on your lips and in your mind well past the first bite. And when you’re shopping for the most wholesome foods for clean eating, you’ll benefit from knowing what texturizers to buy for sprucing up your recipes or adding texture to your favorite dishes.

Let’s examine the feeling of food and how it impacts your perception of taste.

What is Mouthfeel?

Mouthfeel refers to the physical sensation that a food or beverage creates inside the mouth and includes the roof of the mouth and the tongue. Mouthfeel is not the same as taste but is a part of the sensory process when it comes to taste. It has sometimes been referred to as “aftertaste”.  The term is well-known in wine-tasting, coffee drinks, and other beverages with an aftertaste such as beer. 

Types of Mouthfeel in Foods

A person’s expectations may influence mouthfeel because of their previous experiences with certain foods. However, mouthfeel usually falls into a category that describes a person’s encounter with different textures. Consider this list of mouthfeel sensations:

  • Light or fluffy
  • Heavy or coating
  • Smooth or crunchy
  • Creamy
  • Silky or velvety
  • Oily, buttery or viscous
  • Metallic
  • Drying
  • Mouth-watering
  • Bubbly or fizzy
  • Mint
  • Cooling or warming
  • Powdery 
  • Firm or hard
  • Chewy or crunchy
  • Slimy 
  • Crisp or stale
  • Gummy or jelly-like

What Role Does Mouthfeel Play in Your Eating Experience?

The way food looks, smells, and feels in the mouth is just as important as the way it tastes to a person when they are deciding whether or not to add it to their favorites list. The texture of foods can influence how a person perceives the taste of something and can be the final factor when it comes to choosing that food again. Food preferences are vast among cultures worldwide and mouthfeel plays a vital role when it comes to differentiating between foods. Thus, texture is important because it gives you information about a food’s composition and how you should consume it.

How Does Mouthfeel Impact Your Perception of Taste?

Mouthfeel is an important element to a restaurant’s success and the chef in the kitchen knows this. Preparing the best steaks and seafood cuisine entails knowing how long to cook the food and what temperature is ideal for getting that steak just perfect. And people’s perceptions of certain foods and how they should be cooked play a factor in mouthfeel. Can you imagine being served slimy chicken when you expected it to have a crispy skin? That first bite would be a dealbreaker.

Soups that are normally served hot would likely get a thumbs down if your first spoonful of creaminess was cold. Certain pastries are also better warm and the soft texture of the bread makes the mouthfeel a pleasant experience. Adding food texturizers such as leafy vegetables and fruits can increase the nutritional value of the dish but also add color and texture to your meal. You can also add texturants known as emulsifiers or hydrocolloids that improve mouthfeel and increase product stability.

Savor the Food, Enjoy the Mouthfeel

Consider how mouthfeel affects your tastebuds and add pizazz to your own dinner menu with texture. Whether you’re planning a holiday party or a family dinner, you’ll enjoy the art of eating. Savor the food and have some fun with your guests as you describe each mouthfeel you’ve tried. Bon appetit!