Customers find foods in today's marketplace to be too sweet, researchers that analysed nearly four lakh food reviews said.
"This is the first study of this scale to study food choice beyond the artificial constraints of the laboratory. Sweet was the most frequently mentioned taste quality and the reviewers told us that human food is over-sweetened," said study lead author Danielle Reed from Monell Chemical Senses Center in the US.
Published in the journal of Physiology and Behavior, the study examined 393,568 unique food reviews of 67,553 products posted by 256,043 customers over a 10 year period to gain real-world insight into the food choices that people make.
To identify words related to taste, texture, odour, spiciness, cost, health and customer service, the researchers used statistical modelling programme and computed the number of reviews that mentioned each of these categories.
The focus on product over-sweetness was striking as almost one per cent of product reviews, regardless of food type, used the phrase "too sweet".
When looking at reviews that referred to sweet taste, the researchers found that over-sweetness was mentioned 25 times more than under-sweetness.
The researchers found that sweet taste was mentioned in 11 per cent of product reviews, almost three times more often than bitter.