Toast 'takes us back to childhood'
Toast is a near-universally popular snack because it reminds us of happy childhood memories, scientists have found.
The smell of warm, toasted bread brings childhood memories flooding back because it is often the first solid food given to toddlers, researchers said.
Professor Tim Jacobs, of Cardiff University's school of biosciences, said: “We can form these associations with smells at any age.
“All that's required is a consistent smell, combined with an event powerful enough to pin a given emotion to that particular set of chemicals.”
Prof Jacobs, who specialises in the way in which humans perceive taste and smell, said his research showed preference for toast was much stronger in people who had it for breakfast as a child.
“Children's minds are constantly developing. Therefore it's not really surprising to find that people exposed to toast as children have a much stronger affinity for the smell in later life.
“Although that's presuming, of course, that they had a positive experience in their childhoods.”
The research was commissioned by the Flour Advisory Bureau to help understand why toast is such a popular breakfast choice.