“I feel apprehensive at mealtimes as I’m just not sure how things are going to taste. When I go to friends’ houses, I can’t share in the pizzas they order. I take my own food.”
This is what it is like to live with parosmia, a distortion of taste and smell, that my niece Hannah has suffered since having Covid a year ago. She has lost much of her senses of taste and smell and what remains makes many foods smell deeply unpleasant and taste even worse. There aren’t any current proven treatments for this condition, nor is there any certainty about how long this might last –for a 17 year old it’s quite a tough reality to digest.
Hannah feels this condition is invisible and ignored – that as we move on from life post-covid, this is something she just has to live with. After hours spent trawling the internet for advice she has embarked on smell training and also acupuncture but currently feels her efforts are more scattergun than targeted.
Enter Gousto, who in partnership with the charity AbScent have launched free ‘Flavour Saviour’ kits to help consumers ‘retrain their senses and rediscover the joy of mealtimes’. The kit includes 4 jars of fragrance, as well as ingredients chosen to trigger the basic tastes. The promise is that users will reconnect with their lost sense of smell and fall back in love with food.
For Hannah, this is an initiative to be applauded. That a well-known brand such as Gousto is recognising this condition, de-medicalising the process of smell training, talking about a love of food, and packaging the whole thing with Gousto style means she’s finally found a positive message with which she wants to engage.
The jury is out on whether it will work for Hannah. But bravo Gousto for bringing this condition into the mainstream and attempting to help sufferers ‘bring back the joy of mealtimes’.