Hedonic Escalation

The Perfect Combination

March 19, 2018

salted caramelI can think of nothing which tastes better  and scientific research now backs up my claim.

Termed ‘hedonic escalation’ the research confirms what people experience when they are unable to stop eating a particular food.  This article from the UK Independent – and  not from the Infallible Wikipedia – draws its conclusions from a test conducted at the University of Florida a few years ago:

“Marketing analysts Dr Cammy Crolic and Professor Chris Janiszewski revealed that eating it actually causes a rare phenomenon called ‘hedonic escalation.’

Here, our instinctive brains keep craving more and more with every mouthful as it detects new flavours with each bite.

By contrast, with other foods we tend to experience ‘hedonic adaptation’ – the point where your appetite says you’ve had enough.

‘Hedonic escalation is more likely to occur when a palatable food consists of a complex combination of flavours, and a person is motivated to taste additional flavours on each successive bite,’ the researchers write. ‘Hedonic escalation can also increase consumption and influence food choice.’”

So what is this mystery food? Salted Caramel. Today, March 19, is National Chocolate Caramel day, the perfect day to enjoy two perfect foods together.

I’ve noticed more and more foods touting the substance in recent years. Last December, during a pre-Christmas shopping trip, I happened upon a jar of Dark Chocolate Sea Salt caramels. Over the past several years I have found that when, given a choice of chocolates, I tended to seek out the ones with caramel. So when I saw this large jar AND it was dark chocolate, I had to have them.

The first bite was wonderful, the second was heaven, and by the time the morsel was consumed I was addicted. But I was good and did not eat the entire jar. In fact I showed amazing discipline, eating one – at most – each day. Soon Christmas was over but the jar of deliciousness remained. And I’d only eat just one on any given day and sometimes none at all. By the time early March rolled around I stared forlornly at the nearly empty vessel. I would miss my Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels because, Costco being Costco, they were, no doubt, only available for the holiday season.

Sanders chocolate.jpgThen one day a miracle occurred. The hubby and I were at Costco (we’re there at least once a week!) and on a whim I haul him over to the candy and chocolate section to see if there was anything else which might fill the void in my life. And then I spied them! A glorious Costco size stack of jar after jar of Sanders Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels beckoned to me. Oh sweet mysteries of life!

Now my biggest fear is that Costco will run out (Under $20 for 36 ounces of wonder). So what I need everyone who reads my blog to do is this: go to Costco today and buy at least one jar. It’s the least you can do to properly celebrate National Chocolate Caramel day. Plus, if I know anything about Costco, the more they sell, the higher the likelihood they will keep them on the shelves forever. Do it for you. Do it for me. Do it for all of America.

A couple of important links:

On Hedonic Escaltion:



You don’t even have to leave home!:


p.s. – I considered writing about the history of chocolate and caramel but tossed that out the window. For those who do not know, Chocolate’s origins can be traced to  MesoAmerica some 1500 years ago. And Caramel? It’s cooked sugar!

2 thoughts on “Hedonic Escalation

  1. My Hubby and I discovered these Hedonistic delights several years ago and consider them a staple in our home. Good enough for well loved company. Thanks for sharing the science. 😃


  2. Pingback: The Valentine Card | Barbara DeVore

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