While we all have different tastes when it comes to food, the process of chewing seems to be something we share. After all, food goes into our mouths, we move our jaws, swallow, and the stomach takes it from there. However, the exact way our mouths move varies greatly from person to person.
In fact, scientist have been able to sort people into four general types of oral processors: chewers, crunchers, smooshers, and suckers. While everyone uses each of these modes to some extent, we tend to favor one over the others. Chewers and crunchers both rely on their teeth to break down food, but crunchers are more forceful, and prefer food that can be broken up quickly. Suckers and smooshers, on the other hand, both prefer to move food around their mouths with their tongues, but suckers like long-lasting food such as hard candy, whereas smooshers prefer foods such as oatmeal that spread throughout the mouth.
Moreover, scientists have found that these tendencies impact our perception of taste because of the unique way each mode breaks apart food and releases the chemical compounds that create flavor. For example, chewers eating chocolate with mint in it got a huge burst of minty flavor that dissipated quickly because the aggressiveness of the bite released a large amount of menthol, the chemical that makes mint minty. When suckers ate the same chocolate, the release of the menthol was more gradual, leading suckers to describe the food as much pleasanter. Difference in taste may, it seems, have as much to do with how we eat as what we are eating.