Monday, July 20, 2015

Can People Distinguish Pâté from Dog Food?


The shorty answer to the above question
is: NO.

From a 2009 study published by the American Association of Wine Economics come this abstract of a paper by John Bohannon, Robin Goldstein, and Alexis Herschkowitsch.

Considering the similarity of its ingredients, canned dog food could be a suitable and inexpensive substitute for pâté or processed blended meat products such as Spam or liverwurst. However, the social stigma associated with the human consumption of pet food makes an unbiased comparison challenging. To prevent bias, Newman's Own dog food was prepared with a food processor to have the texture and appearance of a liver mousse. In a double-blind test, subjects were presented with five unlabeled blended meat products, one of which was the prepared dog food. After ranking the samples on the basis of taste, subjects were challenged to identify which of the five was dog food. Although 72% of subjects ranked the dog food as the worst of the five samples in terms of taste (Newell and MacFarlane multiple comparison, P<0.05), subjects were not better than random at correctly identifying the dog food.
Read the whole paper here.

I am not too surprised.  After all, high-end tinned dog foods are getting pretty expensive, and the human palate is not much improved from 20,000 years ago when feral man mixed muddy water with boiled nettles and rancid meat.

The ability to taste is actually one of our weakest senses.  Most of what we claim we can taste is actually color, smell or (pun intended) sniffing pretension.

Most "wine experts" cannot reliably tell a "good" vintage from a "bad," and will give completely different opinions of wine from the same bottle, depending on what social cues they are given.

Believe it or not, most people cannot even taste the difference between red and white wine!

1 comment:

jeffrey thurston said...

This post serves to showcase a dispute between iffy junk science bullshit expertise and high-falutin' toney traditional bullshit expertise. Leering bearded middle-aged profs performing for grad student coeds vs. leering self-proclaimed celebrity hucksters performing for rich people.