Why does food not taste the same? 

Put a group of seniors together and it is not long before someone  says.... There is no taste in the food these days. I always wonder if this statement is actually true. So I'm posing this blog as an informal survey, I'm wondering if everyone does agree that food does not taste the same  as is fond remembered  in our youthful days.   I too have complained about things not tasting the same but is it me or the food that has changed? I really do not know the answer to that question. When watching the endless cooking shows on TV with an older chef, I long to ask such a person   are your perceptions of taste as acute as they were when you were younger. No one does ask the question and no doubt a chef would not like to admit on TV that their ability to taste was diminished.  As in most things to do with people I think individuals probably show great variation.  I think that it is likely to be true that the perception of our senses do decline to some degree as we age. We literally see that sight is likely to need help from about 40yrs.  Most of us find that we don't need longer arms but we do need glasses!  Muscular prowess tends to decline,  the rate depending on natural ability and how we care for and activate our bodies. I did hear an interview with a perfume creator admitting his sense of smell was not what it had been.  So it is possible that taste buds are less efficient in later life.   Then again most seniors have some medication and this too can have an effect on body chemistry and taste.  As can smoking or too much alcohol.  Is it that our taste for what we really like changes?  I think most older people find the desire for very rich foods lessens but has this less to do with taste and more to do with the digestive systems inability to cope with the richness?  As a young person, I loved sharp pickle onions and very tart fruits, now not so much?  Often I buy some commercially produced food, well loved in my youth with great anticipation only to be horribly disappointed with it. 9 time out of 10, when I read the ingredients  I find the butter or lard has been replaced with palm oil! Not only the taste but the texture is not the same. Is it that our tastes remain the same but the taste of the masses have changed  and foods are produced with them in mind? 

This brings me to the second half of my survey, what foods do not taste the same for you now, what were the great tastes of your young taste buds?

Recommend0 recommendations
Published in Senior Chatters


  1. drummer

    This is a question that must be asked in millions of homes worldwide – and nobody that I know of can give a definitive answer. I know that in our household this is a frequent topic of conversation, and we, as a result, have changed our buying habits – I look forward to my wife returning with groceries to see what she has collected that is different – I am happy to say that almost without fail she returns with something not previously eaten – or should I say she tries to tempt our changing tastes, for yes – I am quite sure our tastebuds have taken a major step away from what used to be the norm. Otherwise, there is always the option of adding salt/Sauce/Pickles, etc.

    1. Rockflower Post author

      Drummer I suspect you are right, there is no definitive answer. Some days my opinion goes one way, next day it leans another way. I really do believe that a lot of vegetables and fruits do not taste the same, Some of this may be because so many fruits and vegetables are picked before they are ripe and shipped thousands of miles to us. I think I have not really truly tasted a tomato, since I was last in Italy,,,,,,,long time ago now. Could be that the best tasting varieties do not travel so are not commercial. Then there is something about eating the varieties that are grown in their place of origin. The real tropical ugly little brown /green banana,in Kenya, Grapes in the S,France, mangoes in India. Having grown up in wartime UK when eood was so bland. I’m so glad that we can now dip into so many ethnic cuisines.

  2. davidrv

    Hi Rockflower. When I was younger I’d go hunting with my grandfather in the Fall. We’d walk maybe 5 miles or so in a trail not far from his house. Halfway he made a fire where we would sit and eat something. Usually corned beef and bread. He had a recycled tin can (apple juice container) about a liter, which he cut the top off and made two holes on opposite side on top and had a rabbit snare wire used as a handle . He would drive a branch in the ground close to the fire and high enough to place the tin can just above the flames. He boiled water and made tea. “Bouillir la chaudiére” he would say, meaning boil the kettle.
    I’m getting to the “Why does food not taste the same?” question. My answer is that on those excursions, any food that we brought seemed to taste better. Maybe it’s because there was nothing else available.
    Fast forward to 2019 and the media is saturated with food programs. Try this, try that. Like I’m some kind of guinea pig alright. My favorite dessert, if you can call it that, is taking a bowl, peel the top half of a banana (the bottom half is the cutting board!), hold it in one hand, use a spoon to cut small slices just above the bowl, then add frozen blueberries. I used to add yogurt but one time I ran out and surprisingly it tasted just as good.

  3. Rockflower Post author

    Hi David, thanks for your comments. I think food always better when eaten outside. When younger I have been fortunate to have eaten the creations of many great chefs, loved it all, raved about it at the time.Now I realise I’m not that sophisticated gastronomically. Basically, I’m a peasant, the food I truly enjoy is good country food made with the fresh ingredients that grow locally. Local, cheeses and meats, prepared as they have been eaten for centuries.The street foods of India and China. Farmer’s markets of Europe. Now I rave over perfect baked bread and farm butter. Perhaps it is an older person thing but I think simple is better, The trouble with that is, that simple requires fresh quality ingredients. There is the rub because supermarkets do not always have that.

  4. starlette

    Hi Rock, I was reading a medical article a couple of days ago that stated yes indeed our sense of taste and smell do diminish with age….I have never been into fancy foods, spicy stuff I do not do……..I buy Jersey Royal potatoes which in my youth I remember tasting delicious with butter on them, I buy them today and try and recreate the taste but no joy…….just an earthy taste…….fish and chips no longer taste as good as they did eaten outside wrapped in newspaper……but I have to say I had a banana sandwich yesterday (best butter )of course and it was just as good as I remember it…….I remember Rabbit stew …..I made some recently albeit with frozen Rabbit and it didn’t even remotely taste the same, pass on that one……..could be as kids everything was straight off the allotments or from the garden and not sprayed and fed with Gawds knows what……..my new favourite food is Duck Eggs, I know they have been around for ever but only decided to buy some last year and I am hooked, soft boiled to perfection with Wholemeal bread and butter Mmmmmm………..if I was to be stranded on a desert island home made bread, butter and cheese would be all I would ask for…….plain and simple will do me…..

  5. foreveryoung2

    I believe our taste does diminish with age, and it can also be affected by medications and also anaesthesia. It is such a shame because, let’s face it, food is probably one of the greatest joys left in old age, but it doesn’t taste the same any more. Some days I have to force myself to eat knowing that whatever I choose to eat will not have much taste to it for me any more. Fresh foods are kept in refrigeration for days, months, etc. before being put out for sale – nothing is completely “fresh” any more. I have thrown out countless fruit and vegetables after only 2-3 days after purchasing them because they have gone “off”. Well, I suppose nothing stays the same in this world of “making money” big corporations, and the various chemicals used to so call enhance produce.