A taste of culture - 7th European Sensory Science Society’s General Assembly and Symposium

In their capacity as the IFST European Sensory Society (E3S) representatives, Lauren Rogers and Carol Raithatha attended the E3S General Assembly in Dublin in May 2018. Here they report on the host organisation conference which was held the following day.

Sensory Food Network Ireland held a one-day conference (A Taste of Culture: Understanding the Global Consumer and Sensory Perception) at Teagasc, the Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority in Dublin. The organisers did an excellent job inviting speakers from across the globe with presenters from France, Portugal, The Republic of Ireland, UK and Singapore. And the geographic scope went even beyond – even to outer space!

There were many interesting and enjoyable talks, but one of the highlights was Ciarán Forde from the Singapore Institute for Clinical Sciences, who spoke about how the sensory properties of food can be used to influence eating behaviours and energy intake. Sensory cues play a functional role in food choice and intake, but this effect varies by segments and individuals. Ciarán leads a team of researchers studying how sensory science drives behaviour with respect to diet, with the aim to create better living through sensory science. The logic is that energy via food has sensory properties! Ciarán presented research findings that gave us ‘something to chew on’, showing a link (in children) between eating rate and consumption levels, and demonstrating how designing food texture for slower eating rate may reduce energy intake.

A ‘taste’ of some of the other presentations that emphasised the global theme include:

  • A study that asked whether regions of the British Isles perceive beef differently. In case you were wondering: Consumers in Great Britain tended to score higher, but all (Great Britain, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland) liked beef with similar sensory properties.
  • French research, which acknowledging the link for many consumers between natural and healthy (although we know this is not always true), investigated the correlation between liking, perceived naturalness, and healthiness, and the sensory determinants of these attributes in a wide selection of pizzas.
  • Set up of sensory analysis to benchmark crops grown in conditions similar to those that would be expected on the International Space Station vs earth sourced counterparts.

As well as the presentations, there were some excellent student flash presentations on topics such as the assessment of oral nutritional supplements, sugar replacement, facial expressions whilst eating, and the assessment of Waterford Blaa (a traditional Irish bread roll).  

In fact, although we had taken an interesting tour around the world, at the end of the conference we were back on earth and very much enjoying our time in Dublin!

Slides can be downloaded from here