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A Taste of Culture:

Understanding the Global Consumer and Sensory Perception

What do space food, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics have in common? Attendees at the 7th European Sensory Science Society’s General Assembly and Symposium found out at an event which took place on Wednesday, 9 May at Teagasc Food Research Centre, Ashtown, Dublin.

Sensory Food Network Ireland hosted the first international sensory science event in Ireland. Highlighting international research in sensory science, this event brought together prominent sensory and consumer scientists from more than 15 countries and over 60 different research organisations and industry. To reflect the growing globalisation of our food supply, the chosen theme for the event was “A taste of culture: understanding the global consumer and sensory perception”. The network co-ordinators Dr Eimear Gallagher and Dr Sinéad McCarthy described how they fulfilled the brief of the global theme by inviting speakers originating from Dublin to Singapore, to share their expertise on international sensory and consumer research. The speakers emphasised the importance of understanding global markets for European food companies, and how success in these markets relies heavily on having a thorough knowledge of the sensory nuances of different cultures.

When opening the symposium, Professor Gerry Boyle, Director of Teagasc, said; “In the past number of years, the field of sensory science has made substantial progress in developing new methods and in advancing our understanding of consumer responses to foods and pharma. Sensory science is now considered to be a valuable discipline in achieving tactical and strategic goals for innovative product development and consumer acceptance across a wide range of industries”.

Sensory science extends beyond food with presentations outlining the techniques used to mask pharma flavours and enhance cosmetic creams. Some of the presentations were out of this world, describing sensory analysis of food for the International Space Station!

A dedicated student session at the symposium, demonstrated innovative research of a high calibre within the discipline of sensory science. 

Speaker presentations:

Ciaran Forde_Chews wisely

Linda Farmer_Meat regional effects

Julien Delarue_Natural and healthy

Kieran Kilcawley_Cross culture milk powder

Maurice O'Sullivan_Cross culture Irish assessor

Celine Marque_Cosmetic

Tracey Larkin_Space food