International Flavors & Fragrances Is At The Center Of Thousands Of Products

You've probably never heard of International Flavors & Fragrances. But what if we told you that you come in contact with this company's stuff every day? International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF) is a massive, global, multibillion-dollar corporation that is singlehandedly responsible for providing the scents and flavors for thousands of products. Annually, the company imbues more than 38,000 products with their signature smells and tastes. Chances are, the scent of the clean laundry on your body right now was probably manufactured in an IFF lab. But the jobs of IFF employees goes way beyond making sure you smell good.

Scents can trigger memories more vividly than sights and sounds, and that's because the brain's smell and memory centers are directly linked. IFF doesn't let this knowledge go to waste. The company has intricate knowledge of the psychology, biology, and chemistry of scents and flavors will affect you, and it uses that knowledge to create the most enriching sensory experiences as possible. IFF employees even go out to trendy stores and restaurants to see which scents and flavors are at the forefront. Once a scent or flavor is harvested, it takes about two years for it to make it onto store shelves.

Right now you're probably wondering which specific products IFF is responsible for flavoring and scenting. Sorry, the long list of clients is top secret, so you'll have to let that mystery add to the experience. However, the video below gives you an inside look at the IFF facility.

Inside The Secret Lab Making Food Taste Better

Welcome to the intricate world of International Flavors & Fragrances.

How Smells Trigger Memories

There is a direct link between memories and scents in the brain.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. Memories linked to smells are often stronger and more vivid than those linked to sights or sounds. 00:43

  2. Other senses are routed through the thalamus, which sends them to the necessary processing centers. Smells go directly to an area linked to the memory centers of your brain. 01:19

  3. A 2013 study found that smells are more strongly connected to emotional processing centers than verbal cues are. 01:54

How Smell Influences Taste

Believe it or not, taste is about 80% smell.

Key Facts In This Video

  1. All of our senses involve sensory cells that translate stimuli into action potentials, a process called transduction. 00:56

  2. Scientists estimate that humans can identify about 10,000 different smells. 04:39

  3. All tastes register on all parts of the tongue—there are no specialized areas for specific flavors. 07:06

Written by Curiosity Staff November 18, 2016

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