Did you really think America loves Doritos Locos Tacos because “they’re yummy”? Think again, mindless consumer. It’s just not that simple. These crunchy, fatty tacos are carefully engineered to allure to the pleasure centers in our brains, says NY Times reporter Michael Moss. “[The Doritos Taco Loco's] real powers lie in what food scientists call psychobiology, or the study of how the brain reacts to stimuli. They’ve been so successful, says food scientist Steven A. Witherly, because they are engineered to target tastebuds using the most powerful features known to manufacturers: dynamic contrast. That’s the pleasant sensation of biting through the crispy shell to the fat-laced filling. Doritos locos hit the mark for maximum allure.”
But it’s not even as simple as all that. The DTL has both lactic and citric acids, which get the saliva flowing and excite the brain’s pleasure center and tell your brain that you want more. It also has a flavor system in which the lingering smell stimulates food memories, yet—this is a big one—it’s also pretty forgettable. None of the flavors in the DTL are strong enough to trigger “sensory specific satiety,” or, something in your brain that causes you to feel like you’ve had enough. So you want more, and more, and even more. Which means huge profits for Taco Bell.
Fast food is engineered to mindf*ck your brain into loving it, crave more, and never feel satiated.
Did you really think the Doritos Locos Taco sold at the rate of one million a day when it was released in 2012 just because it’s “tasty”? No, fast food is engineered to mindfuck your brain into loving it, crave more, and never feel satiated. So, if you can’t help yourself when you roll up to that Taco Bell drive-thru window, know that you are simply caught in a tightly woven web of food science and engineering. But there is something called “will power” and “knowledge,” which can help a lot when you get a craving for that powdery, processed orange-shelled DLT.
Watch the full NY Times video. Then check out the neat infographic below on why The Nacho Dorito itself is so damn addictive.