Abbott scientists analyzing nutritional compositions in the laboratory.
This is where our scientists step in. Using technology and rigorous testing, we are able to analyze and blend ingredients in a way to eliminate reactions, maintain their effectiveness, and neutralize the taste of certain compounds, ultimately creating a blank canvas that allows us to flavor our products.
Pleasing Senses All Around the World
Our genetics, age, health status and cultural upbringing play a role in what we prefer when it comes to food and nutrition products. Our work in five research and development (R&D) centers around the world, in Asia, Europe and the United States, allows us to connect with consumers and understand these preferences in a real way.
At these centers, our scientists work with consumers to study what flavors, colors, textures and aromas are popular in different regions — often collecting up to 250,000 inputs on preferences. We've learned some surprising facts along the way.
- Vanilla is a crowd-pleaser all around the world — and thousands of variations of vanilla exist.
- Dark-colored beverages are often viewed as rich and decadent — dark or fudge-like chocolate types are top favorites.
- Smell can't be overlooked. While humans can sense five types of taste — sweet, salty, bitter, sour and umami — aroma actually contributes to 80 percent of what we perceive as taste.
And we get excited with our discoveries. For instance, by studying foods on supermarket shelves and working with consumers, our R&D centers in Asia found that kesar badam (saffron almond) is a hit with kids in India and that wheat is a popular flavor in Vietnam.
The Role of Packaging
Last, but certainly not least, packaging is critical to making our science-based nutrition products user-friendly. For example, if a mom is trying to mix up a bottle of formula in the middle of the night while holding her little one, she needs to be able to easily open the package and scoop the formula with one hand. If a patient is recovering from surgery, he needs to be able to open the package and beverage despite weakened muscles and grip strength. If an athlete is trying to get needed carbs and protein mid-workout, the package needs to be easily opened (and closed again) between sets.
A dedicated team of user-experience scientists study the various ways in which people use our nutrition products in order to help us better meet their needs.
Why Taste Matters
We spend so much time testing and perfecting the flavor of our products because if they don't taste good, people won't drink them, which means they won't be getting the nutrients they need. Our research shows that nutrition is a powerful form of medicine, especially for those who are recovering from an illness or who may have just had surgery, and we firmly believe that by providing nutrients to those who need it most, we can help people live the healthiest, fullest lives possible.
Now, on to try the next new flavor!