Intensive professional exchange between ESN and the industry
Geneva, March, 2006: "Inspiring" and "exceptionally successful" were typical of the responses to the intensive interchange between the assembled experts at the latest ESN seminar. The seminar was held at the well-established Swiss company Firmenich, which is known for its long tradition in the fields of fragrance and flavor development. ESN External Industrial Adviser David Lyon had invited ESN members to the seminar.
Isabelle Cayeux, Firmenich consumer and sensory research scientist, reported on their activities in the area of sensory research and the sensory evaluation of odors and fragrances, and presented the Firm's current projects. The focus was on the industry's interest in the field of flavors, e.g. the interaction between smell, taste, and trigeminal perception; the goal is to understand how taste impressions can be specifically modulated, and how new smell and taste experiences can be created. The development of bitterness masking agents, sourness modulators, and mouth-feel and taste enhancers is a part of this research. In the area of perfumery, Firmenich is interested in methods that can test the wake of a perfume's odor and specify the emotional space of subjective olfactory experiences.
ESN external scientific adviser Prof. EP Köster and Léri Morin Audebrand from ESN member institute AFN presented experimental studies that demonstrated the special characteristics of the sensory memory for foods and how these characteristics influence consumer behavior. Both emphasized how important it was to find testing methods that encompass implicit learning in order to be able to investigate the sensory learning of taste and smell.
Industry practitioners also showed great interest in the presentations given by ESN member Ciarán Forde, Food Science Australia/CSIRO Australia, and Oliver Tomic, Matfosk, Norway. Forde and Tomic covered the new possibilities of recording and optimizing the performance of sensory panels. Forde gave a differentiated overview of the advantages and disadvantages of various statistical procedures in analyzing panel performance. Tomic introduced new software that simplifies the application of such procedures. "Panel Check" was developed by Matforsk scientists as an open-source project, and will be made available to the business community in the near future.
In intensive personal talks with the Firmenich personnel, ESN members had the opportunity to get first-hand information concerning the special needs of the industry, and to investigate the possibilities of cooperative projects. Likewise, the Firmenich representatives profited from the ESN members' collective experiences along with the high quality of their presentations, questions and comments.