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Vital Signs with Dr. Sanjay Gupta

Company that Engineers Flavors Profiled; Analyst Examines Impact of Color on Mood; Musician Jessie J Discusses Writing Music. Aired 2:30-3p ET

Aired December 16, 2017 - 14:20   ET


[14:00:00] UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where are your eyes? Eyes. Where are ears? Ears. Where's your mouth?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Teaching our kids about their senses is one of the first things we do as parents. That's how we take in the world around us, how we figure out what we like and what we don't like. A lot of the things we don't like we know instinctively -- the sight of a light that's too bright light, the smell of something rotten, the sound of a high pitched alarm. How do you make something most people will like, a new flavor, outfit or song, something that's pleasing to the senses?

I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta. This is "Vital Signs."

We all have different tastes, so to speak. But here at Givaudan, they're hard at work whipping up something they hope you're going to love. This is a flavor house, a company that, you guessed it, comes up with the flavors in some of your favorite foods and drinks. Givaudan is the largest flavor company in the world, responsible for creating more than a quarter of all the natural and artificial flavors you know and love.

KIM JUELG, SENIOR FALVORIST, GIVAUDAN: This is the best job in the world. I can't imagine doing anything else.

GUPTA: If you're describing your job to somebody what do you tell them?

JUELG: I am making the world taste great. I'm going to bring joy and happiness and I'm going to make every eating experience memorable for you.

GUPTA: What is great to one person may not be great to another, right?

JUELG: Absolutely. The experiences that we've had, the things that we like or don't like, our childhood upbringing, all make you taste differently than somebody else. If all of us in this room were to sit down and eat the same meal, we would all describe it differently.

GUPTA: You can try this at home right at your own dinner table. What you'll find is the taste of food is actually really hard to describe. But for Givaudan's Kim Juelg, it's her life's work.

Is there a way to sort of characterize how well we understand taste?

JUELG: We're always still learning about that. Taste, but taste and aroma are really linked very closely. We've got external nares and internal nares that you smell with. You use the external nares when you smell a flower and the aroma goes up through your nose to the receptors triggers your brain. The same thing with the internal nares. As you eat something, you're chewing and it goes up through the back of your throat and hits receptors and then again triggers your brain to what you're tasting. And smell is hugely important to taste. The tongue tastes. The five basic sweet salty, bitter, sour, and umami, as well as heat and cooling. But it's the aroma piece that brings that to light, the whole kaleidoscope of flavors that will explode in your mouth as you eat.

GUPTA: You're probably wondering, do people who can't smell eat less? Well the answer, sometimes, because they don't enjoy eating as much. But other people actually eat more. They overcompensate in their quest to find flavor. After all, studies have shown upwards of 75 percent of what we commonly think of as taste actually comes from our sense of smell.

JUELG: Go ahead and take a jellybean and smell it. Don't eat it yet. Do you smell anything using your external nares? Probably not. It's got a hard candy shell so I wouldn't expect you to smell anything. So now we're going to show you how important your internal nares are to tasting. So go ahead and put the nose plugs on, and then go ahead and eat that. And tell me what you're tasting.

GUPTA: Taste sweet. Little bit of heat there.

JUELG: Go ahead and take it off.

GUPTA: Hmm. Wow.

JUELG: So there was a kaleidoscope of flavors. It's not peach but it's a mango chilly jellybean, but beaches and mangos are very, very closely related.

GUPTA: I felt sensations. I felt the heat, for example, but really I was having a really hard time describing it until I took this off.

JUELG: Exactly. Isn't that cool?

GUPTA: Yes, fascinating.

JUELG: The flavors that we make go into consumer goods that are baked, they're fried, they're frozen. They're put through pretty rigorous processing and they lose flavor. So what we try do is to add back to that and make that taste like Mother Nature intended.

GUPTA: Juelg specializes in citrus for sweets, sodas, you name it. But Givaudan they has teams around the globe that focus on all different flavors. The number one flavor in the world is vanilla and most of it comes from Madagascar. The problem is there's only so much of it. So to meet demand some of that vanilla has to be synthesized in the lab. In the end flavoring usually makes up less than one percent of a finished food product, but it can easily make or break whatever it is a company is trying to sell.

Where are we going with flavors do you think? If you had to look 10 years down the line.

JUELG: You see interesting things even in the snack foods. They're starting to come out with chicken and waffle, or gravy fries, potato chips, flavors that exist but in new applications, especially globally as we get different ethnic kinds of flavors.

[14:35:07] So this is a tool that we use frequently with our customers. It helps us develop flavors quicker.

GUPTA: So this is smell.

JUELG: This is smell, and it's obviously a huge part of taste. So there are 30 channels on this. I can load it up with individual materials or I can load it up with finished flavors that are very complex. If you think about it in terms of a piano, I can play one note or I can play all notes. I can play it softly or I can lay it loudly. So just to give you an idea of how it works, I've built a blood orange flavor on here with some of the keys. So blood orange is typically a fresh orange. The blood orange piece is used with berry notes.

GUPTA: So with this, you have this smell, the aroma, and then using this formula you've now created a taste.

JUELG: Correct.

GUPTA: Yes, it tastes like it smells.

JUELG: Where's your nose? Nose.

When you consider the five senses, you know you teach your kids this is red, this is blue. Can you hear the bell? Can you hear the dog bark? But what do you teach them about food? This is sweet. Isn't this really juicy? They're very generic terms that we use. So I try to do that with my son and teach him here's something really ripe, and these are the fruity notes that are going to hit you up front. And that's why you like this.

Is it sweet? Yes? Is it juicy?

GUPTA: Why is it important?

JUELG: Food is nutrition for our body, so we're going to eat. But let's make it enjoyable and pleasurable and make memories out of it. If you think about the instances where you're eating, it's usually with good friends, it's with family, it's with your kids. You're on vacation. You're having a special dinner out with your wife. They're just great memories that you want to have and hold. And when you have this great meal, it just has -- brings back great memories.

GUPTA: And speaking of memories, when's the last time you were red with rage? Green with envy? Or had the blues? We'll take a look at the important role color plays in our everyday lives. Plus -- (MUSIC)

GUPTA: -- if you recognize that song, you're not alone. There's a reason why some songs just seem to stick in your head.



[14:41:15] GUPTA: In early 2015, the world lost its collective mind over the color of this dress. Is it black and blue or white and gold? People were pretty evenly split and both sides thought they were right. To settle the score once and for all, the company that made this dress confirmed to CNN it is in fact black and blue.

Color plays such a vital role in our everyday lives. Consider traffic lights. Green means go, yellow caution, red stop. But what happens when colors get a little bit more complicated?

If you want to know exactly what color something is and perhaps why, you come here to Pantone.

This is one of my favorite colors. I think I wear it for television because it's easy.

LAURIE PRESSMAN, VICE PRESIDENT, PANTONE COLOR INSTITUTE: So I see the combination as authoritative in a very credible way, reliable, trusted, dependable.

GUPTA: That's pretty good. I'll take that.

Laurie Pressman is vice president of the Pantone Color Institute which helps companies pick the best colors for their brands and products.

PRESSMAN: Color is the first thing we see. Color is the first thing you connect to. If you were working with a company and they have brands who work with them as to what's the right color to able to express their brand DNA.

GUPTA: The right color can become iconic. Think Coca-Cola red, McDonald's yellow, Starbucks green. Travel anywhere on earth, while language may change, all those colors need to look the same in Thailand as they do in Texas. That helps consumers instantly recognize what they're looking for and keeps them coming back for more.

Pantone was founded in 1962 with the goal of becoming the standard language of color. It's how painters, clothing designers, and architects from all over the world know that this isn't blue, it's Pantone 286C. The foundation of Panton's business is its color matching system which you might imagine they take really seriously.

First a technician enters the code for the ink he wants to make into this computer. Right now Steve is ordering up Pantone 7665. The machine dispenses an almost perfect amount of base colors to the mix. It's almost never exactly right and that's where a well-trained human eye comes in, tweaking the formula ever so slightly to make sure it's flawless. The ink is poured into this machine which spits out perfect pages of colors. Today some shades of blue. The sheets are then cut and bound into these guides that are sold and sent around the world, ensuring a perfect match every time.

PRESSMAN: We give the technician yearly color tests. If they don't pass of if they're not within a certain degree of where they need to be, they're not qualified to be working in that space.

This test is critical. Everybody takes the test and that they are able to line up each of the colors from light to dark so that we know that they can see color accurately and they can detect the different tints and tones.

GUPTA: I'm just basically trying to line these up and going from bluish-green and more blue to green.

OK, that's what I'm going with.

PRESSMAN: Forty-one, 42, this is 39. You did pretty well.

GUPTA: Yes? Am I hired?

PRESSMAN: Well, I don't know.


GUPTA: When you consider the vast majority of our perception takes place through our eyes, you realize this is important work. Even seemingly mundane color choices can have a profound impact on your life.

[14:45:04] PRESSMAN: For example, when we look at a color like red, we know that it revs up your appetite. We know the effects on the pituitary gland that there's an arousal that stimulates you to take action. So people say OK, put a little bit of red in a restaurant, that's great. People will eat more. Don't put red in your dining room because you'll eat too much versus the greens make you feel calm, they physiologically affect you so that it calms the nervous system, connect back into nature.

GUPTA: Perhaps it was no surprise then that Pantone chose greenery as its 2017 color of the year.

PRESSMAN: As we looked at 2017, the world was going even faster, and you saw more people, we felt, switching off their computer, saying I've got to get out and I need to connect back to nature. This is the color that breaks through the earth every spring.

GUPTA: Color can also be used to try and influence behavior, like in Australia where they started putting what some smokers say is the world's ugliest color, Opaque Couche, Pantone 448C, on cigarette packs to discourage smoking. Other countries, including the U.K., France, and Ireland, have started doing it too.

(MUSIC) GUPTA: Pantone also recently honored the late singer Prince with his own shade of purple Love Symbol Number Two, inspired by his one of a kind purple piano.

While Pantone might be the definitive language of color, music is the only truly universal language.


GUPTA: Jessie J tells me how to write the perfect pop song next.


[14:50:05] GUPTA: We all have song that is when we hear them, they take us rite back to a certain time and place. For me, every time I hear Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds" I'm transported back to college, a summer day in the quad. And music also transcends space and time. So now that song makes me think of my own three little birds, my three daughters. Travel the world, and there are some songs and artists you're going to hear just about everywhere you go. But what is it exactly that propels a song to the top of the international charts?


GUPTA: "Do It Like a Dude" was the song that catapulted Jessie J onto the global music stage in late 2010 when she was just 22 years old.

This started very young for you, but do you recollect when you first started listening to music?

JESSIE J, MUSICIAN: The first album that I bought was "The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill" which came out 19 years ago, so I was 10. And I remember walking to dance school and I remember singing "I was just a little girl, skinny legs."


JESSIE J: And I remember thinking I want to write songs like this when I'm older.

GUPTA: Jessie J is now 29 with a smattering of her own bona fide hits.


GUPTA: If I just said I just want a popular song, are there things you kind of know this collection of sounds put together this way is going to have a certain catch to it?

JESSIE J: There's inside out music and there's outside in. I like to do a bit of both. There's the music that's inside out that you have to write from within, something you experienced whether it's popular on the radio or not that you have to get out because if you don't do it you can't move properly and you can't think straight.


JESSIE J: And then there's the outside in music where you look at what's going on in the world. Music moves constantly and you'd be selfish and arrogant to not move with the times.

GUPTA: And Jessie was moved to make up a song on the spot the moment she walked through the doors here at Electric Lady Studios in New York City.


JESSIE J: I literally walked straight in, and it feels calm and like, like I can breathe. As soon as I walked in, the first thing I said is I can smell stories. There's that feeling that's you know so many things have happened in here.


JESSIE J: Then you find something like that and you be like -- free and I feel so good. Then you record it. Nobody said it would be easy.

GUPTA: Aside side from honest, raw emotion and singing about experiences other people can relate to, there are other things that can increase a song's chance of becoming a hit.


GUPTA: Lady Gaga released "Bad Romance" back in 2009, but you may feel like you've just heard it yesterday. That's because it was ranked the number one earworm in a recent British survey.


GUPTA: So what is it that makes a song more likely than another to get stuck in your head? They're faster and more upbeat. They're not too simple, but not too complex. And they have surprises in an otherwise predictable melody.

JESSIE J: It's probably a scientific part of the brain that gets excited that you can remember. It's like a dance routine. If a dance routine became famous and it was just a side step and no one's intimidated by it, so for me, the biggest songs I've had have been the songs that don't intimidate people, because everybody can sing money, money, money.


GUPTA: For Jessie J's knew album, it's time again for what she calls inside out music.

JESSIE J: You kind of open your wounds to help other people massage their scars, you know?

(SINGING) [14:55:29] JESSIE J: People always say to me, what do you want people to take from this music? I'm like whatever they need. It's like when a designer puts out a line of suits, they don't say you have to wear this to a wedding and it has to be at that time of day with this kind of lighting. It's just that wear it how you want. If you want to wear the jacket on its own or a two-piece, it's your decision. Once you give it as a gift, you have no control.

GUPTA: Too often, we take our senses for granted, not fully harnessing their full potential. But you have control to really savor your food, bask in the glow of your favorite color, or get lost in your favorite song. And if you do and stop and really enjoy that moment with all your senses, trust me, you'll be glad you did.

I'm Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Thanks for watching.