Influences on food choices... Emotions and Psychologycomfort food and food associations Culture and Geographysuch as this Greek cuisine BeliefsChristmas cookies and Jewish Matzoh Health Concernsi.e. low fat for heart health Technology allows new products, & access to many foods and cooking methods Food Costs
Flavor and appearance of food... Flavor is a ‘quality’ of food involving all the food’s sensory characteristics: appearance, taste, odor, feel, and sound. Appearance can be a sign of quality or ripeness. It can be an ‘expectation’. Colors and shapes and an attractive presentation are key contributors to the appearance of food. Green eggs and ham and purple catsup defy the ‘expectation’ of good food color. Some consumers cannot accept them. When the picture of the sandwich in the ad looks neat, but the actual food looks sloppy and flat… flavor is affected. A ‘garnish’, is an edible decoration added to another food item to improve appearance.
The science of taste and odor... A congested nose may leave you temporarily ‘taste blind’, or unable to distinguish between flavors of some foods. Taste blindness can also be caused by some diseases, medications, and medical treatments. Extremely magnified taste buds
The science of taste and odor... Smell and taste are closely linked. The taste buds of the tongue identify taste, and the nerves in the nose identify smell. Both sensations are communicated to the brain, which integrates the information so that flavors can be recognized and appreciated. Some tastes—such as salty, bitter, sweet, sour, and savory (umami)—can be recognized without the sense of smell. However, more complex flavors require both taste and smell sensations to be recognized.
The role of temperature... A food may taste differently, depending on the temperature it is when eaten. ‘Volatile’ substances are those that are easily changed into vapor when food is heated. This adds to the food’s odor, which in turn affects taste. Cold foods may numb the tongue and make it seem tasteless. Heat increases the sweet taste of some sugars; cold increases saltiness of a food.
Mouthfeel, sound, and consistency... Collectively, the mouthfeel, sound, and consistency of a food all contribute to the ‘texture’ of the food. ‘Mouthfeel’ refers to the way a food feels when it is in the mouth. Mouthfeel is affected by the temperature of the food. The consistency of a food refers to its degree of firmness or density. A food’s texture cannot be separated by the sound of the food while you are eating it. If you are expecting a cereal to be crunchy, and it’s soggy… you will not be satisfied.
Sensory evaluation of food... The sensory evaluation of food is an exact science, and involves scientifically testing food using the human senses of sight, smell, taste, touch, and hearing. Food industries employ highly trained experts and laboratory panels of people with refined skills and sensitivity to evaluate new and existing food products.
Sensory evaluation of food... Companies sometimes use large consumer panels to taste-test foods, usually limited to three samples at a time. Sometimes panel members sit in individual booths to minimize distractions. Lighting and temperature are kept constant, and efforts are made to eliminate bias (i.e. colored lights hide differences in food sample colors). Testing is done in late morning or early afternoon when people are more responsive. Eating a cracker or rinsing the mouth with water cleanses the palate between samples (warm water with fatty foods). Time is allowed to evaluate aftertaste.
THE END SENSORY EVALUATION OF FOOD