Accepted abstract - Creative Tastebuds Symposium 2020


Teaching sensory science to practitioners can change what we eat

Opinion paper

By Marie Damsbo-Svendsen1, Bat-El Menadeva Karpantschof1 and Michael Bom Frøst, Smag for Livet, Department of Food Science, University of Copenhagen. 1These authors contributed equally to the work


In product development, methods for sensory analysis are commonly applied with the purpose to gain insight into how a product is perceived by consumers, which product is preferred and how much it is liked. Gaining knowledge about this provides the opportunity to develop products that meet desired criteria and generate acceptance by consumers. Sensory science provides a box of tools, which can be used to develop, revise, and improve food products, but also meals and dishes.

Hedonics is a major determinant of food choiceThis means that palatability and deliciousness is key when creating new more sustainable food products or dishes from raw materials which require less energy to produce e.g. vegetables, algae, legumes, grains, seeds and nuts.

How do we create large scale changes in our society leading to more sustainable food consumption? One certain contributor to the change is to ensure that the products and meals available in supermarkets, canteens, schools, hospitals, and restaurants are both sustainable and delicious. The chefs and nutrition assistants of the future need tools to systematically assess the sensory quality and acceptance of the food they produce, and this is where the tools of sensory science come into play. Sensory science is a valuable toolbox for understanding the value of a product or meal.

The University of Copenhagen and Smag for Livet (Taste for Life) are working in collaboration with four vocational schools to develop teaching materials on sensory science for their chef- and nutrition assistant education. Dialogue with teachers about the need for such material provide the basis for developing the teaching material. In the spring 2019 the teaching material was tested at three of the collaborating schools. During 2020, 10 classes will take part in the sensory based teaching and afterwards the material will be available online for any school who wish to use it for free. The goal of teaching practitioners sensory science is that they master sensory evaluation techniques, focus on palatability and improve their ability to develop sustainable food which is liked by a large number of consumers. Thus, these practitioners may influence what we eat by creating sustainable and palatable foods available in our food culture.