The Science of Taste
Malcolm Gladwell on the perfect Pepsis, perfect pickles, and the rise of Prego spaghetti sauce:
It’s quite old — September 2006 if the website’s datestamp is right — but interesting. The idea that the perfect spaghetti sauce was the thin, tasteless, culturally authentic “Ragu” style was universal until about twenty years ago, when a Harvard PhD came across the seemingly obvious notion that different people liked different things and revolutionized several industries.
The notion that the difference between a coffee aimed at pleasing everyone versus one aimed at pleasing various taste clusters is both one of small variation and immense pleasure outputs is likewise obvious in hindsight but essentially ignored by the industry until quite recently is also quite astounding.
Yet I can vividly recall a time — which existed through my young adulthood — when one kind of Coke, one kind of spaghetti sauce, and one kind of coffee were all that were available on a mass scale.
via Tom Smith