Skittles are just a candy that most people grew up eating. Whether it's because you got them trick-or-treating, or got them in your lunch box. For me, I remember playing dress up rubbing the sugar from sour skittles on my lips like big girl lipstick. Even some grammar school math teachers used them for problem-solving.  Regardless of how you have interacted with Skittles, everyone has a favorite or least favorite flavor. Personally, I love the purple ones. Or at least that's what I thought...

There is a rumor surfacing that Skittles actually don't have different flavors. It all began with a twitter thread insisting that rather than flavoring they rely on color and smell to trick the consumer. Naturally, I had to test this out for myself with a blindfolded, nose plugged taste-test. 

Before the Taste-Test

Barbara Heidkamp

I had a lot of expectations going into this experiment. I began by having my very skeptical roommates on board with this little experiment. We laid out one of each all the five flavors. In order to address the smell theory, we plugged our noses and blindfolded ourselves with a lovely sleep mask. We handed each other each skittle one at a time and tried to guess the flavor being tasted until all 5 flavors had been tested. 

The Taste-Test

Barbara Heidkamp

While watching my roommates repeatedly guess the colors incorrectly, I got a bit overconfident in my candy guessing ability. After all, I tested positive for the "supertaster" gene back in high school psychology. Unfortunately, it became a pattern of orange being mistaken for yellow and red, and purple being mistaken for green. Shockingly, being the candy connoisseur I am, I only got 1/5 flavors correct. After being extremely disappointed with my own results, I blindfolded a few more friends to gather more "data" because #science. The highest number any one person got correct was only 2/5 flavors!

The Breakdown

Either the idea of flavors is a hoax or we are just horrible guessers, regardless the experiment was disappointing, to say the least. What surprised me the most was the fact that none of us guessed green apple correct, despite the lime to green apple transition uproar. This seems to be the most distinct flavor and more importantly my least favorite of them all. The colors that were guessed correct the most were red and orange. The flavor scale, or lack thereof, had everyone shook. This makes me think that there, in fact, must be something more to a flavor than just taste. After, unplugging my nose post-guessing, I could immediately tell that I had guessed incorrectly as the flavor became more distinct showing the influential role color and smell play in tasting foods.

My only hesitation to this "myth," is the old idea of plugging your nose to mask any flavor. Think back to being a little kid and plugging your nose to clear a plate of green veggies. The taste always became much more manageable. With this being said, I am not 100% sold on this being a myth nor a fact but, one thing's for sure after bags and bags of Skittles, I have tasted enough of the rainbow for while. 

If you really don't believe my results, try it yourself.