The Sweet Smell of Latex

Flavored plastic packaging that affects the smell and taste of the merchandise inside may soon be on the way. The Chicago Sun-Times recently reported on a Philadelphiabased company called ScentSational Technologies that has apparently developed (and gotten FDA approval for) a plastic that contains embedded food-grade flavors.

When the material comes into contact with foods beverages for a prolonged period (as it would packaged product that must make its way the typical supply chain), it imparts its flavor into the packaged product, much as wine aged in wooden barrels takes on some of the barrel's taste attributes and gives oenophiles an an excuse for tossing around terms like earthy, oaky, woody and I got a splinter in my teeth.

Of course, packaged goods should already have flavor on their own (unless they're rice cakes or lite beers), so one wonders whether this isn't merely gilding the frozen burrito. However, the article discussed some potential applications, like adding oven-fresh scents to shelf-stable packs of dry cookies, or flavoring those much-maligned military MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) with real-food taste.

Or, put another way, using plastic that tastes like food to flavor food that tastes like plastic ...