Category Archives: Post of the month

Post of the Month: September 2020

Is the flour of Tylosema esculentum the novel textural ingredient in gluten-free bread making?

Dr. Patricia Nyembwe Mujinga, post doctorate researcher at the University of Pretoria (UP)

Over the last few decades, the popular belief is that a gluten free (GF) diet is a healthier option. Gluten-related disorders are driving an increasing number of consumers to opt for a GF diet as a lifestyle choice. Consequently, a lot of research have been conducted on GF bread to improve their technological properties. Nevertheless, many studies state that consumers remain unsatisfied with the quality of GF breads which are described as firm, dry crumbling crumb and with a poor mouthfeel, as the flours used lack the structure-building characteristics provided by gluten.

Tylosema esculentum, an underutilised African drought tolerant legume. It represents an attractive alternative as gluten-free ingredient as its flour is highly functional, rich in lipids, proteins and dietary fibre. In this study, GF breads were prepared from defatted marama flour- cassava starch (DFM-CS) composite in different ratio. The crumb texture of freshly produced breads was assessed by a sensory panel using the flash profiling method, as well as by conducting a texture profile analysis according to the approved method (AACC International, 2009) using the texture analyser EZ – L Shimadzu. The measured parameters were expressed as crumb firmness (N) and springiness (%).

The result showed that more defatted marama flour in the composite formulation lead to development of a soft and springy bread crumb. This may be due to the combined effect of marama flour functional properties such as water absorption and emulsion capacity as well as the presence of dietary fibre.  Interaction between legume protein and dietary fibre including pectin known as hydrocolloid are reported to improve the viscoelastic behaviour of gluten free dough leading to an enhancement of dough development, structure and gas retention. Thus leading to the development of gluten free bread with a soft crumb and improved elasticity.

Inclusion of marama flour should be consider in the development of gluten free with improved texture.

Written by:

Dr. Patricia Nyembwe Mujinga, post doctorate researcher at the University of Pretoria (UP)

Dr Patricia Nyembwe Mujinga is a dedicated and passionate post doctorate researcher at the University of Pretoria (UP), Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, Department of Consumer and Food Sciences and Institute of Food Nutrition and Well-being. She succeeded in relating the academic work to several industrial projects. She can fluently speak English and French. Her latest research focused on the optimisation of the sensory properties of gluten free bread that contribute to the nutrition and well-being of coeliac patients and consumer with gluten intolerance.

Her work includes:

  • Design and development of gluten free doughs that resemble wheat bread doughs while using legume protein flours as alternative to wheat gluten.
  • Optimisation of the bread baking performance and exploration of the sensory profile of breads using descriptive analyses method such as Flash Profiling.
  • Design and development other baking products such as biscuits that are appealing, appetising and nutritionally adequate to address the problem of protein energy malnutrition in risk community of Sub-Saharan Africa. 

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Post of the Month: July 2020

The Reflections of a Lecturer, PhD Researcher and Masters student during COVID-19

Dr. Paula Conroy, Lecturer at Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT), Ireland

Christina Dietz, Sensory and Brewing Science PhD student at the University of Nottingham, UK

Eunan Doherty, Student Applied Sports Nutrition, GMIT, Ireland

The year 2020 has unfolded in a way no one could ever have predicted. In a time where social distancing has become the new norm and individuals are more cautious than ever before, the academic life for students and lectures is very different to that of six months ago. Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, face to face interactions with lecturers, academic staff and students was the manner in which the majority of students learned.

Any questions could be queried directly with any member of staff during or after classes. This learning process was through a magnitude of channels, including tutorials, labs and lectures. As our programme emphasizes student interactions, we needed to carefully (but quickly) examine how to keep the heart of our teaching/learning approaches online. Staff worked intensively with the administrative staff at GMIT to make this happen. Lectures needed to be tactical and find the most successful approach for their students in a very short period.

Teaching was all directed to online mediums. Within a short space of time delivering classes through Teams and Zoom became the new norm. However, we had several fresh challenges to bring our lectures online, as we needed to accommodate a much larger number of participants and had various student interactions such as case discussions, role play, and group discussions. Student engagement and participation is always key to ensuring a successful learning experience, however this can be compromised through teaching online. By keeping the classes interactive by engaging with different learning resources, discussion forums and communicating well with the class this was achieved.

Establishing online etiquette was intrinsic to the smooth running of classes. When students had a question, they would raise their hand using the ‘hands up function’ on Teams, all microphones would be muted, and cameras would be turned on during role call. Labs had to be directed online. One such lab I designed and conducted was with the MSc. Applied Sports Nutrition was the design and development of a sensory enhanced health bar for athletes. The student’s objective was to develop a sensory enhanced ‘health bar’ which would be suitable for the students chosen athletic target audience.

Different learning outcomes from this exercise was to gain a greater insight into the following:

  • Product development e.g. new products
  • Changes in recipe & production process
  • Quality control e.g. raw ingredients & products
  • Benchmarking e.g. comparing to the competition
  • Problem solving e.g. off-flavours & taints
  • Shelf life testing e.g. best before date

The students developed and reformulated traditional recipes to increase protein, decrease fat, increase fibre etc to cater for their target consumers.  The nutrition content of the bars was researched and nutrition labels were designed by the students. They also came up with a mood board on Padlet software whereby they designed the packaging of their finished product. The students performed hedonic sensory analysis. They examined attributes such as appearance, aroma, flavour and oral texture. All of which was conducted at the student’s home with their housemates or family being their sensory panel assessors. The students then came up with their own sales pitch which was delivered on Teams. The students established health claims associated with the health bar, costings of manufacture and sales prices. The students really embraced their new lab style. They developed health bars ranging from cyclists to school children’s vending machines and really took on the role of a Sensory Scientist in their own home. A few months ago, conducting such a lab would seem merely impossible outside the traditional laboratory, however I feel creativity in strenuous situations can always accomplish an outcome.

COVID-19 has presented many challenges for students and staff alike. However, a lot of these challenges were to our advantage. One such advantage is our upskilling in technology enhanced learning. Learning in the last few months has become interactive and accessible to every student across the country and globally. Although it does not replace face to face interactions and the experience of College life for students, it does contribute some advances in the way we teach and learn

Written by:

Dr. Paula Conroy, Lecturer at Galway Mayo Institute of Technology (GMIT) Ireland


There is no doubt that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected our everyday lives and will further change the future. In response to the social distancing rules at work, school and university closures and travel bans, it changed the way we communicate, work, lead, study, and let us question whether we actually need to meet in-person to solve this business problem. What became quite obvious during the past months is that in many cases it is actually possible to manage work from home and that Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Skype, Zoom Video Conferencing and other providers are very useful communication tools helping us to save a lot of time.

It was quite exciting that my inbox literally got flooded with offers for free or reduced-fee online courses, webinars, and virtual networking events at the start of the lockdown. So far, I could choose between more than 30 different webinars – all relevant for my current research projects or my professional development. Do you want to learn more about a sensory or a statistical analysis software? You could be sure that Compusense, XLSTAT, IBM SPSS and various other re-known providers had a suitable offer in their newsletters. National institutes, companies and societies offer webinars to diverse topics or relocating whole conferences into the digital world. Many of these online events adapt topics relevant to the current situation. For instance, the Institute of Food Science and Technology (IFST) host a Sensory Science Group Webinar on the 30th July on how to conduct sensory and consumer research during lockdown ( 

Thinking about my voluntary work and political engagement, all of a sudden I had access to meetings and debates for which I previously had to commute to another city, or even to another country. It seems that the current digital development is bringing us a little closer while we are asked to ‘socially distance’ from each other. Nevertheless, all of us crave for real-life coffee breaks with our colleagues and the after-work pint in the pub next door. Moreover, it was found that an overload of online meetings can cause tiredness and exhaustion, a phenomenon that got the name “video call fatigue”. It is certainly important to find a balance between in-person events and interacting virtually.

Written by:

Christina Dietz, Sensory and Brewing Science PhD student at the University of Nottingham, UK


My name is Eunan Doherty from Donegal, Ireland and I’m currently studying a Masters in Applied Sports & Exercise Nutrition.  I spent four years in IT Sligo, Ireland where I completed my Undergraduate Degree in Human Nutrition. 

I have always been interested in Nutrition from the basic principles of dieting to the laboratory specific testing carried out in food production.  I enjoy the prospect of working with athletes in the future yet I would also be interested in working in a laboratory setting if the opportunity were to arise. 

It’s been around four months since I found myself in a hotel room preparing for the first lab sessions of the semester.  This would be one of two sessions throughout the semester and is always a great time to meet with lecturers and classmates face-to-face.  The following day had began like any other session, a quick coffee and a catch up before getting down to business.  It was shortly after midday when the news was brought to us that we would not be able to complete our labs that day or the following day and the session was concluded.  This was the first direct impact that COVID-19 had on any of us.  It was unfamiliar territory for everyone and the worry of what was to come was starting to grow.  Questions were being asked that nobody could give a definitive answer to yet;  What does this mean for our lab assessments? How will this impact our marks and grades? What are we going to have to do to make up for it? etc.  It was hard to forecast the full impact the pandemic was going to have and the only benefit was that our lectures were able to continue as normal. 

Back at home places began to slowly close down from bars, shops, gyms, sports clubs and shortly the “lockdown” was in full effect.  Safe at home and not stuck at home was the message relayed to me every day from family members and my college work was the only sense of “normal” life I still had and for once felt grateful for having plenty to do.  My lecturers had settled the nerves and cleared the grey areas surrounding the coursework which took away concerns that admittedly were beginning to grow in the back of my head.  With the coursework all mapped out and a finishing line for the semester in sight, everything had appeared to be straightforward. 

The biggest barrier I had to tackle was motivation.  It wasn’t usually something I contended with as I had been completing lectures and coursework online for 6 months at this stage.  I think with everything being shut down and the 2km travel limit in play,  the motivation to really do anything wasn’t really there.  No gyms or leisure centers to occupy any spare time and training for football teams was also off-limits.  These were all great schedule fillers in between doing lectures and completing coursework, but my motivation had left me just as they had left my daily routine.  From playing scrabble with my parents to doing online 5km challenges nothing was the same.  I have to credit my classmates more than most as the constant communication we share over our WhatsApp group had finally got me going to get my work done.  Whether it was sitting on together on Microsoft teams going over coursework or just casual conversations on how to approach some assignments.  My motivation had slowly began to return. 

I must also credit my lecturers as extensions were given when needed and any issues were dealt with.  One of the highlights of the semester has to be an online sensory lab where we had to develop our own health bars and carry out sensory testing on our products with the little resources we had.  It was a great experience carrying out sensory testing like the Hedonic Scale test and seeing how its applied practically.  With my research project commencing in early September, I look forward to exploring the sensory science and its place among a sporting population.  I have experienced sensory analysis in my undergraduate studies and look forward to experimenting with it again.  It should be interesting to explore the sensory perceptions and taste preferences of athletes and it’s a challenge I look forward to.   It has been a strange semester in strange times and one I won’t forget in a hurry.  I hope some normality can return and I can achieve the targets put in front of me.

Written by:

Eunan Doherty, Student Applied Sports Nutrition, GMIT, Ireland.


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Post of the Month: May 2020

Changes in the Committee of the E3S Student and Early Stage Researcher Group

Stephanie Bull (former E3S-SESRG Co-Chair), Nicolas Seince (E3S-SESRG Chair), and Christina Dietz, (new ESS-SESRG Co-Chair)

Stephanie Bull has been involved in the Student and Early Stage Researcher (SESR) group since 2015. In 2018, she completed her PhD thesis on the influence of the structure of whey protein on mouth drying. Now, she is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Reading, and a Teaching Fellow in Sensory Science in the Department of Food and Nutritional Science. Stephanie decided to step down to focus more on her current roles. She will still be involved in the group as a UK representative. However, it is with great pleasure to announce that the new Co-Chair of the E3S SESRG will be Christina Dietz.

Christina has been a long-standing member of the E3S-SESRG since 2017 when she joined as the deputy country representative for Germany, and as a Committee member being responsible for “News, communications, and website management”. This mainly included the organisation of the Post of the Month and the creation of the E3S-SESRG newsletter. While we aim to merge the E3S-SESRG newsletter into the global E3S newsletter, Christina will continue with the organisation of the Post of the Month until we found a suitable successor. Christina´s contributions to the group have greatly been appreciated and have been integral for the activities of the group. We were pleased to see Christina apply for the position of the Co-Chair and delighted to appoint her into her new role.

Christina discovered her passion for sensory science in 2011 when she was working as an undergraduate assistant in the Sensory Quality Control unit at Symrise AG during her semester holidays. At that time she studied Food Management at the University of Applied Sciences Weihenstephan-Triesdorf in Bavaria, Germany. From then on, she has experienced very different ways to conduct sensory testing in academia, gastronomy, and industry. So far, she worked with meat product, flavours, spices and functional additive mixes, green tea, and chocolate fillings – which perfectly indicates the large selection of possibilities that you have if working in the fields of sensory and food science. In 2016, she moved to the Netherlands for an MSc Food Technology (Product design) at Wageningen University, which decisively contributed towards her way into academia. At the moment, Christina is in the final year of her PhD at the University of Nottingham, which focuses on the investigation of the contribution of hop-derived volatiles to the multisensory characteristics of beer.

A look into the past

Stephanie proactively moved the group forward. She worked with Martha and Nicolas (past and present Chairs of SESR group) in the organization of meetings for students and young researcher during Eurosense, and Pangborn. She always wanted to help bring awareness of sensory science to interdisciplinary students, and to create strong network links with students across Europe.

Also, Stephanie always encouraged and developed activity to improve communication between members of SESRG. She helped to implement the student video competition, and support the organization of Knowledged Exchange Webinar.

What does the future hold?

In March 2020, Christina was appointed to the post of the E3S-SESRG Co-Chair. In this role, she aims to provide support to Nicolas in his role as the E3S-SESRG Chair and the committee in moving the group forward. Since the foundation of the E3S-SESRG, the group has done a great job in introducing interested people to the field of sensory science and providing an efficient network and platforms for knowledge exchange for people who are already working or studying in the field. It is important to maintain this group, to keep up the motivation of our highly committed members, to strengthen the young sensory community, and to make it even more attractive to the next generation. Moreover, social and knowledge exchange are equally important. Therefore, Christina will continue to organise events at conferences and support the organisation of meetings and webinars. Finally, she plans to strengthen the country representative roles and their voice for ideas for the group, to recruit new representatives and members, and to ensure that the group is well-presented across European countries, in both academia and industry.

If you have any suggestions or ideas for new events, activities or even for our website, we would be very pleased if you could drop us an email or just find us at the next event!

Written by:

Stephanie Bull, Postdoctoral Research Associate and Teaching Fellow at the University of Reading


Christina Dietz, Sensory and Brewing Science PhD student at the University of Nottingham


Nicolas Seince, Sensory and Consumer Project Manager.



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Post of the Month: April 2020

A review of the 2nd Edition of the E3S Student and Early Stage Research Group Knowledge Exchange Webinar (10th March 2020)

María Mora, Research Scientist at the Basque Culinary Center, Spain

The 2nd Edition of the E3S Student and Early Stage Research Group Knowledge Exchange Webinar took place on the 10th of March. This initiative started last year under the supervision and promotion of Adriana Galiñanes Plaza intending to enhance research networks across Europe by sharing our knowledge and experiences. The first edition was hosted by the French Sensory Analysis Society (SFAS) with the participation of students from all over the world: France, United Kingdom, Spain, The Netherlands, Italy, Ireland, Sweden, Austria, Germany, Chine, South Korea, Singapore, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and The United States.

As a European initiative, this year Adriana proposed that the Spanish Professionals Association of Sensory Science (AEPAS) could hold the 2nd Edition of the Knowledge Exchange Webinar. Today, I will tell you more about the content of the event. So, on the 17th of November of 2019, a team of students and early-stage researcher members of E3S was built to develop the 2nd knowledge exchange webinar. The team was composed by four members of SFAS, organizers of the 1st edition, and one member of AEPAS: Adriana Galiñanes Plaza, communication, social media and website manager of E3S and creator of the webinar initiative, Anastasia Eschevins, a postdoctoral researcher at the Institut Paul Bocuse Research Centre; Nicolas Seince, E3S SESRG Committee Chair and sensory project manager, Jessica Dacleu, research project manager in Altran; and myself, PhD postdoctoral researcher in sensory analysis at Basque Culinary Center.

Speakers and organizing team

After the hard work of the organizing team, the 2nd exchange webinar of the E3S Student and Early Stage Research Group took place on the 10th of March. A total of 25 participants from different parts of Europe and other countries, registered for this event. The webinar had a length of one hour and a half and presented some of the researches carried out in Spain during the last year. Specifically, three speakers honoured us by sharing their experiences through three 10 minutes’ presentations. Silvia Rozas, culinary chef at the Basque Culinary Center opened the webinar talking about her experience applying sensory analysis techniques in the gastronomy sector and hospitality as a gastronomic science student. The second speaker was Elena Romeo-Arroyo, researcher and PhD student at the Basque Culinary Center, showing the results of her last research about the influence of packaging, label symmetry, curvature, and colour, on the perception of brand premiumness developed in her internship at BI Norwegian Business School. Finally, Patricia Puerta, PhD student at the Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology, closed the webinar talking about how useful could social media be for Consumer Research. Participants had time to discuss with the speakers after each presentation which contributed to a better understanding of the speakers’ research experiences.

The webinar was recorded and shared to all person registered and/or interested in the topics presented. This event is an opportunity to develop and disseminate research, innovation and education in sensory science.

Webinar program

I would like to thank all participants for taking part, as well as the organizing team members for their commitment. Especially, I would like to thank Adriana for creating this kind of exciting opportunity to build bridges between students from different countries, and to Nicolas for being so creative, pro-active, and push forward this initiative.

Written by: María Mora

Research Scientist at the Basque Culinary Center, Spain




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Post of the Month December 2019


María Mora, Research Scientist at Basque Culinary Center, Spain

On the 11th and 12th of November, AEPAS organized two presentations given by Professor Jean-Xavier Guinard of the University of California, Davis at the “Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingeniería Agronómica, Alimentaria y de Biosistemas (ETSIAAB)” of the “Universidad Politécnica de Madrid”. The two themes addressed were the different strategies studied at the University of Davis to promote healthier eating habits and a review of the methodologies used to study consumer response.

The first talk took place on Monday, November 11th, and was titled “Sensory Strategies for Improving the Diet”. Professor Guinard explained the current situation of society in terms of nutrition and food habits, how obesity has become pandemic and the strategies could be implemented to increase adherence to healthier eating habits. This theme was approached from two different points of view. First, Professor Guinard spoke about the innate taste preferences of humans, the sensory satiety, and the different interactions between aromas and tastes. He also presented different studies focused on the development of healthy and tasty recipes carried out by his research team. The studies conducted at University of California-Davis, were based on the application of protein flips for the development of healthier recipes, in which ingredients such as meat were substituted by plant-based ones (Figure 1); liking and perception of the sensory properties were similar in both proposals. To achieve the expected results, his team has been closely working with the chefs of the Culinary Institute of America, showing that the sensory and the gastronomic knowledge can be powerful tools to fight against obesity.

Principles of healthy, sustainable menus from the initiative “Menus of Change” promoted by the CIA and Harvard University.

On the 12th of November, professor Guinard presented “Qualitative tests of consumers for innovation”. He explained the different methodologies carried out at the University of Davis to develop innovate products. He mentioned the importance of considering the different factors that directly impact food choice, such as: product characteristics, consumers’ culture, consumption context, etc. He also reviewed the most appropriate methodologies, both qualitative and quantitative, to work with consumers, as well as the pros and cons of each of the methods.

Both talks aroused a lot of interest, had a great assistance, and brought together students and professionals from academia and industry, including professors and students from UPM and the Spanish Professionals Association of Sensory Science (AEPAS).

Written by:

María Mora,


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Post of the Month September 2019


Laura López Más, PhD student, Institute of Agrifood Research and Technology (IRTA), Spain

Patricia Puerta, PhD student, Institute of Agrochemistry and Food Technology – Spanish National Research Council (IATA-CSIC), Spain

Noelia Da Quinta, PhD student, AZTI, Spain

The third edition of AEPAS Congress was again a meeting point where scientific and industrial knowledge could be shared. The attendance of 130 people (75% nationals) highlights its reputation. This year’s attendees were professionals from Argentina, France, Italy, Mexico, Portugal and Uruguay. In addition, it still was a tradition that a student from the Società Italiana di Scienze Sensoriale (SISS) gave an oral presentation. The AEPAS Congress involved 116 accepted abstracts to be presented at the congress, 3 workshops, as well as 5 presentations from keynote speakers.

One of the novelties this year has been to give more visibility to future professionals working in the field of sensory science through granting the first edition of the “Awards for the three best student communications” and this year’s winners were Patricia Puerta Gil (IATA-CSIC), Noelia Da Quinta González (AZTI) and Laura López Mas (IRTA).

After two workshops about R and FIZZ, the congress was opened by Patxi Pérez Elortondo, President of AEPAS and member of the scientific and organisation committee, Íñigo Martínez de Marañón, Technological Manager of AZTI and Patricia Gutiérrez, Communication and Marketing Manager of Basque Culinary Center, who emphasised the current challenges that sensory scientists need to overcome, including, global issues such as sustainability and quality assurance.


The first session included studies associated with consumer’s personalisation and well-being. The keynote speaker presentation was performed by Dr. Lisa Methven, professor at the University of Reading (UK). The objective of this session was to examine the eating behaviour of specific groups in the population. It should be highlighted that remarkable interest was shown to different groups of consumers as well as to the adaptation of research methodologies used. In this context, several studies have been published focusing on the sensory response of children, young adults, elderly, oncologic patients, and blind people. In addition, this session included other topics such as the study of expectations and purchase drivers of specific products.

Learning, feeling. Two principles that come along with us through the knowledge of sensory analysis. Given that feeling has a lot to do with emotions, in this edition of the congress, we have found a great deal of research focused on the emotions that goes hand-in-hand with eating. Not only the food itself, but also everything that involves it, from the first contact when we choose an aliment, until we eat it, through the social event linked to it or the moment in which we consume it. For example, the importance of the emotional response linked to breakfast was discussed, showing that both what we eat and also the context matter. But, we can extrapolate the emotions even further and look into what some particular foods make us feel, as shown by some works associating emotional responses with products such as chocolate, beer, smoothies or wine. Nonetheless, this answer not only depends on the product. Also, our age or health status have an important influence on how food makes us feel and our perception, as we have seen reflected in the research focusing on personalisation as mentioned above, with children, young people or cancer patients.

Within the session “Food quality”, introduced by the plenary conference of Isolda Vila and Iñaki Etaio, most communications were related to sensory characterisation techniques, which ranged from descriptive profile analysis with a trained panel to CATA questions (Check-All-That-Apply), Napping® and Flash Profiling. Also, a wide variety of products was characterised, ranging from wine, beer, honey, jam, nougat, sausage, broth, fruit, nut, beans, coffee, bread, and cheese, as well as, products that are less frequently sensorially described such as Oaxaca mezcal, black truffle, and infant starter milks.

However, we should not solely focus on what we study but also on how we analyse it. A challenge then emerges for the professionals in this area: how consumers’ response can be studied in a natural and realistic mode? Being aware of this variable, more and more studies are trying to recreate the situation of consumption or choice of products in an ecological manner, thereby fully immersing the consumer in these situations. Following this philosophy, studies have been carried out in real purchase situations, such as simulated supermarket shelves or consumption at bars. Without a doubt, it represents a great tool that can bring us closer to the behaviour of the consumer in real-life conditions.

Michael Bom Frøst, professor at the University of Copenhagen, opened the session “Sustainability and novel foods”. Among the numerous communications presented, one of the most shocking results was that consumers only show a level of concern between “medium” and “low” for sustainability. Broadly speaking, sustainable/green products have an added value and consumers are willing to pay only a little bit more for these products. However, sustainable/ecological factors determining food choice are not as decisive as intrinsic factors (e.g. quality, food security, flavour) are. Therefore, there is still more need to explore the factors that causing consumers to make more sustainable food choices.

The last session was opened by Dr. Tormod Næs, senior researcher at Nofima (Norway). The research on this topic focussed on the application of new tools in sensory analysis, including the uses of TCATA fading, emojis, collective intelligence, and the development of new lexica to be applied to characterise specific food products. On the other hand, we could also learn about the uses of immersive technologies that evoked a naturalistic context, facial reading, and eye tracking to study of preferences and food choices.

Finally, this year we had the opportunity to enjoy the congress in a unique environment, which invited to enjoy local gastronomy and food. San Sebastián, and especially the Basque Culinary Center, have welcomed us and made us feel at home. And what a better place to celebrate our gala dinner than in a typical cider house where we enjoyed the gastronomy including of course the traditional craft cider… and its corresponding pouring! A real luxury as the final highlight of the APEAS congress – full of sensory research and in good company.

See you all at the IV National Congress of Spanish Professionals Association of Sensory Science (AEPAS), at Logroño (La Rioja, Spain) in 2021!

Written by:

Laura López Más, LinkedIn:ópez-mas/

Patricia Puerta. Email: LinkedIn:

Noelia da Quinta. Email: LinkedIn:


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Post of the month August 2019


Cristina Proserpio, postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Food, Environmental and Nutritional Sciences, University of Milan, Italy.

The Italian Sensory Science Society (SISS) and the European Sensory Science Society (E3S) in collaboration with Monica Laureati and Ella Pagliarini from the Sensory & Consumer Science research group of the University of Milan have organized the 8th E3S & SISS Symposium “Tasting the Future in Sensory and Consumer Science”, which was held in Milan from 27th to 28th of May.

Around 120 delegates attended, involving scientists from different countries from all over the world.

During the two-days event, an intense program with interesting oral and flash presentations was delivered. Different speakers from industry and academia have provided an overview on emerging directions in sensory and consumer science with a focus on cross-age and cross-gender issues. The level of presentations was really high, and a wide range of topics were covered across the sessions, moving for example through the role of oral microbiota composition on taste perception to the influence of older age on sensory perception and food development.

Young scientists and PhD students had the possibility during the event to give their contribute presenting oral presentations about their research findings. During the event Ervina (NOFIMA) has been awarded for the best student flash presentation.

The social event was held in a beautiful rooftop with a view on the skyline of Milan. A friendly atmosphere during the “aperi-cena” was really useful to do networking with scientists from all over the world. All the delegates enjoyed this event during which they tried both good food and drinks from the Italian cuisine!

This review was written by Cristina Proserpio, postdoctoral researcher (University of Milan)

Lab web site:                                               

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Post of the Month June 2019

Factors to consider when planning sensory testing with children

Hannah Jilani, Research associate at the University of Bremen at the Institute for Public Health and Nursing Sciences – IPP and at the Leibniz-Institute of Prevention Research and Epidemiology – BIPS, Bremen in Germany


Children are a valuable group of consumer with specific needs and preferences. Therefore, consumer test results from adults cannot be transferred to children. When conducting consumer tests with children many factors have to be taken into account since physical and cognitive abilities of children are less developed than those of adults (Doty RL & Shah M, 2008). Thus, feasibility needs to be considered when planning sensory testing with children.

  • Tests have to be easy to understand and quick to conduct as children have short attention spans. The whole test procedure should be short and the way of explaining the test to the children has to motivate them to participate and complete the whole test (Knof et al., 2011).
  • The decision making process of children is strongly influenced by adult approval and reaction. Children tend to affirmatively respond to positively phrased questions or change their opinion immediately if asked by an adult (Guinard JX, 2000). A simple question like “Are you sure?” can easily turn a “yes” into a “no”.
  • It should also be considered that parents need to give written informed consent for their children, whilst adolescents who are 12 years and older are allowed giving written informed consent. All children should be orally informed and give their oral consent to participate in the study.
  • Food intolerances in terms of food allergies and food sensitivities are highly prevalent in Europe. Especially sensitivity to monosodium glutamate and gluten (celiac disease) is widely spread in Europe. Therefore, parents need to be asked regarding particular food allergies of their children before the start of the tests.
  • Performing examiners should not use fragrance or perfumed hand cream nor consume cigarettes, coffee, or bubble gum prior to or during the tests. It should be ensured that participating children were neither hungry nor satiated. Ideally, the children had their last meal one hour prior to the test sessions. Moreover, peppermint chewing gum or sweets with a strong taste are not allowed one hour prior to the tests.
  • Test environments are most suitable if these are familiar to the children such as a preschool or school environment. In addition, test environments are supposed to be bright, cosy, friendly, and colourful rooms where children would feel comfortable. However, decoration should not be too colourful to avoid distraction. Furthermore, there should be no undesired odours like strong smell from kitchens or disinfectants.

Further, if sensory tests are performed on a multicentre level within one country or even across countries there are more issues to be considered. Procedures for application within the framework of a multicentre study have to provide comparable results. All survey teams need to be trained in a central training session previous to the survey to assure standardised test performance and preparation of test solutions in each survey centre. The training should be attended by at least one representative of each participating survey centre. This central training should include lessons on behaviour, used vocabulary, and phrasing of questions, as well as lessons on handling the equipment for preparation of test solutions and setting up the test environment. Detailed standard operating procedures (SOPs) should be provided to each survey centre.

Even simple test substances, such as sucrose or sodium chloride, can be standardised through a central supply for all test material: Food samples, test substances and equipment for preparation of test-solutions, as well as equipment such as drinking cups can be purchased centrally and shipped to the survey centres. As an example, to avoid anti-caking and flow-regulating agents which are commonly applied by industry, food samples can be purchased centrally without additives and provided to the survey centres pre-packaged and ‘ready-to-use’ for the preparation of the test solutions.

Taking into consideration that tap water quality differs substantially, demineralised water should be used for all test samples and procedures. Accordingly, the selection of appropriate food samples on a multicentre level can also be very challenging. For example, apple juice which is well accepted in most places can be unfamiliar in some other places. Even for common foods the food industry is known to adapt regional food recipes according to the population’s preferences; thus a standardised recipe is needed in all study centres.


Doty RL, & Shah M. (2008). Taste and Smell. In Marshall MH & Janette BB (Eds.), Encyclopedia of Infant and Early Childhood Development (pp. 299-308): San Diego: Academic Press.

Guinard JX. (2000). Sensory and consumer testing with children. Trends Food Sci Technol, 11(8), 273-283.

Knof, K., Lanfer, A., Bildstein, M. O., Buchecker, K., Hilz, H., & Consortium, I. (2011). Development of a method to measure sensory perception in children at the European level. International Journal of Obesity (2005), 35 Suppl 1, S131-136. doi:10.1038/ijo.2011.45


Written by: Hannah Jilani

You can contact me anytime for more information:



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Post of the month April 2019

A three-month research and training visit at the Wageningen University and Research (WUR)

Lapo Pierguidi, PhD candidate at the University of Florence, Florence, Italy


This is a short summary of my three-month research and training visit at the University of Wageningen (The Netherlands) during 2019.

I am a third-year PhD student at the University of Florence, Italy. My main research areas are sensory and consumer science. In particular, my focus is on the effect of individual differences on perception and appreciation of alcoholic beverages.

During my PhD, my main supervisor Erminio Monteleone professor of Food Science and Sensory Science, encouraged me to spend a part of my PhD abroad in another university. I have chosen to spend a period of three months at Wageningen University and Research (WUR). WUR is a very broad university that offers a wide range of study options in the fields of climate, energy, water, environment, nutrition, health, landscape, and animals. These fields are approached from various perspectives such as economics, management, research, product development, technology, and international cooperation. I decided to join the Marketing and Consumer Behavior (MCB) group headed by Professor Hans Van Trijp to conduct a study under the supervision of Dr. Betina Piqueras-Fiszman.

During my stay in the Netherlands, I started to design and plan a study on the effect of portion size on the choice of healthy and unhealthy snacks. The study is also focusing on consumer individual differences in view of food lifestyles and culture. This research comprised of an online test that will be distributed to consumers across Italy and the Netherlands. This research and study visit was a great opportunity for me since it allowed me to explore new topics and methodologies in the field of consumer behavior and healthy food perception. My stay allowed me to meet many PhD students and researchers and improved my knowledge in different topics that are explored at WUR on an international level. I also appreciated to participate in several “lunch-clubs” that are meetings in which research ideas were presented and discussed to receive feedback and suggestion by the people working in the different research areas. On a personal level, the research and training visit allowed me to experience different ways of living, tasting new foods, and making new acquaintances. The staff and professors of WUR have always been really kind and helpful to me. I am very grateful for this experience.


Welcome to attend the 8th E3S Symposium and General Assembly 2019 organized by the Italian Sensory Science Society and the University of Milan, 27-28th of May 2019 Milan, Italy.

Written by: Lapo Pierguidi (PhD candidate at the University of Florence)




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Post of the month March 2019

A review of the First E3S Student & Early Stage Researcher Group

Knowledge Exchange Webinar

Adriana Galiñanes Plaza, PhD Student at AgroParisTech University and

Institut Paul Bocuse Research Centre, France – 30th January 2019


One of the actions of the E3S Student & Early Stage Researcher Group (SESRG) is to enhance research networks across Europe by sharing our knowledge and experiences in an engaging way. That is why this year we organised the First E3S SESRG Knowledge Exchange Webinar.

When Martha Skinner, the former E3S SESRG Committee Chair, contacted me about this idea around May 2018, I did not hesitate! I have always thought that sharing our knowledge is the best way to improve, to make the difference! So we decided to create a team of students and early stage researcher members in France, where I am currently located.

This incredible team was composed by four members if the French Sensory Analysis Association (SFAS): Anastasia Eschevins, postdoctoral researcher at the Institut Paul Bocuse Research Centre; Jessica Dacleu, research project manager in Altran; Nicolas Seince, sensory project manager in Sanofi and myself, PhD student in consumer science and behavioural economics.

This First Knowledge Exchange Webinar, became a reality on the 30th of January. A total of 40 participants registered for this event. We counted with people from different countries: France, United Kingdom, Spain, The Netherlands, Italy, Ireland, Sweden, Austria, Germany, Chine, South Korea, Singapore, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, and The United States.

The webinar lasted for one hour where we had the opportunity to present some of the work carried out in France. Three amazing speakers presented their current research and work. Alexiane Luc, graduate engineer from Agrocampus-Ouest, opened the webinar with a new approach to analyse Free Just About Right (JAR) data with consumers’ opinions. She presented a new method called “Sentiment Mapping”, (a graphical representation like the preference map) where key drivers of (dis)liking are shown. Then, Audrey Cosson, PhD student at INRA – AgroParisTech –Roquette Frère, took the floor and presented her current PhD research about “the perceptions of pea protein isolates in relation with their chemical composition” by using a new method called “Block Profiling”. The Block Profiling is a new and efficient sensory method to evaluate plant-protein isolates using relative-to-reference evaluation for separate blocks of attributes. Following this Block methodology, panellists evaluated the products in a monadic sequential way, beginning systematically with a reference product similar for each evaluation. Finally, Léonor Bonnafous, sensory and consumer scientist at Puratos, told us about her personal experience in the sensory and consumer insight world. She gave us an insight about how different experiences in research and industry can help us in the acquisition of new skills. Participants had time to discuss with the speakers after each presentation, however we would have loved to have more time for it.

Personally, I think that the organisation of this activity was very enriching because it helped me to develop some managerial as well as communicational skills. Moreover, the possibility to exchange with other colleagues and members of the E3S SESRG is always a great occasion to learn and improve the skills. We got very positive feedback from the participants as well as valuable suggestions for future webinars. For follow-up webinars we aim allowing participants to choose the topics and to have a bit more time for questions and discussions subsequent to the presentations.

To conclude I would like to thank all participants for taking part as well as the organising team members for their commitment. Thanks as well to Martha Skinner and Sara Spinelli (E3S secretary) for their suggestions and help.

CALL-TO-ACTION (CTA): We are currently looking for the next host country that would be willing to take this great opportunity to organize the next E3S SESRG webinar. If you want to get involved, please do not hesitate to contact us : We would be glad to help and give tips to the next organizing team.

Written by: Adriana Galiñanes Plaza

PhD student at: Dept. Food Process Engineering, AgroParisTech University & Institut Paul Bocuse Research Centre, France




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Post of the month: February 2019

Post of the month: February 2019

Martha Skinner, first E3S SESRG chair

As some of you may already know, I’ve been Chair of the E3S SESRG since founding it in 2015. I’ve worked hard to lead the group to what it is today, but I’ve loved every minute of it. One of the main aims was to connect early career researchers in sensory and consumer scientists from across Europe. I feel very lucky to have met such a wonderful group of likeminded individuals, and I feel proud with what we’ve managed to achieve in such a short time, by coming together and working towards common goals. You can see a summary of our activities and achievements at the end of this article, but first, it is with sadness to announce that I’m stepping down from my position in leading the group.

Nicolas Seince, the new E3S SESRG chair

However, it gives me great pleasure to announce that the new Chair of the E3S SESRG will be Nicolas Seince from France.

In 2017, Nicolas joined the SESRG as the deputy representative for France. His contributions have included writing a “post of the month” which was posted on the E3S website, and in 2018 he accepted the formal role of ‘social media manager’ of the SESRG group. In 2018 Nicolas attended Eurosense as representative of the group, and assisted in managing the E3S related activities throughout the conference. His most recent contribution was being on the organising committee to host the first ever E3S SESRG webinar, which was a great success.

Nicolas has been working in the Sensory Science field since June 2015. He started in this research area during his Masters at Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1 (France) under the supervision of Marie Repoux (Valrhona) and Professor Philippe Boulinguez, with his research looking into the kinetics of learning of a trained panel. Then, during his summer vacation he has been working at Centre du Rosé (France) with Clémence Salou. This private research center assesses wine with consumer and expert panels. Here, he studied how consumers described Rosé wine.

Today, Nicolas is a Young Sensory Scientist working at Sanofi (French Pharmaceutical Company) in a Research and Development service. He set up a Sensory Evaluation Laboratory and now he is running the Laboratory and its associated activities. He plans to continue in this field in the future.

Nicolas will outline his plans for the future of the group under his leadership, but first I’d like to summarise what the group has achieved so far!

A look into the past
In 2015 Rocio Dorado (from Spain) and I founded the group, which has continued to grow and grow. We now have over 50 members, and a representative from each country associated with E3S. Their profiles can be found here:

E3S Student and Early Stage Researcher Group Representatives

As the group has become more established we have found the need to appoint an official organising committee, which you can read about here:

This year we started an exciting new initiative in the form of an online student video competition, which was organised by two PhD students who are studying in the Netherlands, Marlou Lasschuijt and Roelien van Bommel. This was won by Marit Nijman, you can see her video here.

E3S Student video competition

We’ve had a group meeting at either Eurosense or Pangborn every year since 2015, and also additional meetings in Spain in 2017 and Dublin in 2018. However, in September 2018 SESRG had an even stronger presence at Eurosense as we not only held our annual meeting, but we also ran an E3S promotional stand, and collected questionnaire responses on food attitudes. If you haven’t already completed the questionnaire then please do so using the following link:

The most recent activities have been the first ever knowledge exchange webinar which was hosted by France in January 2019, led by Adriana Galinanes. This was a great success, with 33 members signing up to join the event. A review of the event will be posted on the E3S website soon, so do keep an eye out for that.

But enough about the past. I’d now like to hand over to Nicolas to share what he has in store for the group under his new leadership……..

What does the future hold?
Nicolas is highly dedicated to keeping the SESRG group moving forward. He plans to keep enhancing the SESRG communication platform so the network can continue to expand. This includes working to improve the actual recruitment process in order to effectively recruit new members. He will introduce a survey to update status of member of the group, and check for volunteers to substitute him as Social Media Manager (drop him an email at if you’re interested!). He aims for the group to continue organising events and activities so people can share their experiences (such as Post of the Month, Seminar, annual meetings, Knowledge Exchange Webinar…). As a result, it will provide more networking opportunities for all members of the SESRG. During the next assembly in Milan, he will held a meeting with SESRG members to discuss his vision of the future of the group, so again drop him an email if you’re interested in attending.


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Post of the month November 2018

Guest post

A glimpse of the 2018 Society of Sensory Professionals (SSP) Conference

Meetha Nesam James, Masters Student at Kansas State University, Manhattan, United States

26th-28th September 2018 – Cleveland, Ohio, United States

‘Rock your Sensory Advantage’- this was the tagline of SSP 2018 conference held in Cleveland, Ohio, United States from September 26th to 28th. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the conference aimed at inspiring sensory professionals and students, as leaders from the industry shared their expertise on how sensory could be used to drive innovative business results.

The conference kicked off with a welcome note by Dr. Jason Newlon, SSP Conference Committee Chairperson. This was followed by the SSP/ASTM Joint Workshop on the theme: ‘It’s a Small World, Leading Sensory and Consumer Research Cross-Culturally’. This session highlighted the how to’s of global research and the benefits of working globally. Dr. Kavitha Avula from ‘Therapists Beyond Borders’ gave an amazing talk on understanding people from inside out and not from outside in. She insisted that understanding cultural sensitivity of the target consumers, avoiding implicit bias and having a heart to listen rather than imposing your thoughts would be a great way to understand consumers from different cultures. Dr. Bob Baron, VP, Sensory Spectrum, spoke about the business case for taking sensory global. He mentioned that the changing environment in the global market is due to the increase in global trade, technology development, consolidation and centralization of brands. Daniela Garaiz, Sensights Consulting, mentioned that having a structured plan around the business objective and developing the study based on that would help conduct an international research study successfully. Following that, Janet McLean, Global Director of Sensory Consumer Guidance, Diageo, took us through the challenges one has to face when conducting research globally, especially the time zone difference, shipping costs, advertising etc. At the close of the workshop session, Cindy Malixi, Innovation Consultant and Facilitator, AHHA, gave her insights on working with global teams. Her idea of ‘Go have a beer’ with global teams to have better connections and to stay cool always, were some of the key takeaways from her talk.

The ‘Luncheon with Connectors Meet-and-Greet’ was one of the main events at the conference. Everyone enjoyed the conversations with their mentors, as they shared their professional experiences and their insights for future career prospects.

The opening keynote by Kevin Ryan was thought provoking as he spoke about ‘The Changing Face of CPG (Consumer Packaged Goods)’. He drew everyone’s attention towards the ten evolving cultural mindsets that tend to influence the CPG market. One of the mindsets he discussed was ‘Foodie 2.0’ where the consumers take ownership of what they choose to buy and what they eat. Ryan also recommended on how CPGs must react to these mindsets of consumers to stay relevant.

Debbie Peterson, President, Getting to Clarity, gave a fascinating talk on the topic “Increasing Confidence in Communication: From Frustrated to Focused”. She challenged everyone to “Step up, Speak up and Show up” and mentioned that avoiding limiting beliefs, catching it, challenging it and changing it into a positive belief about one’s self can help them achieve greater heights. Following that, Dr. Jason Newlon gave a talk on the journey of the first ten years of SSP. It was inspiring to know how the vision of a small group of the founding members took form into this successful big organization. The day ended with a cocktail reception for more networking and connections.

The second day of the conference started with scientific sessions on the theme-‘Context throw- down’. The speakers presented their research on the importance of context in consumer likings in different product categories. Experiencing the products in real life environment in contrast to the test facilities had impact on the consumer preference. After the talk, selected studies in diverse topics were presented as speed posters in no more than 5 minutes.

The students and other researchers had the chance of presenting their research in the poster sessions in the morning and afternoon. I presented my research on ‘Lexicon development and napping of Ryebread from Northern Europe and the United States’. There were posters on different sensory topics including context relevance, oral processing, cross-cultural product testing, etc. There was another Professional Development talk on how to overcome difficulties and to increase clarity and assertiveness in communication. The student luncheon that followed had a presentation from Chris Van Dongen about the three phases of a career in sensory.

The afternoon started with a scientific session on the topic “Individual Differences between Consumers”. Scientists presented their research on the variation in liking because of the personality traits, oral perception and sensitivity and sensory advantage of thermal tasters. Following that were two workshops at the same time on the topics of ‘Beyond Foods’ and ‘Best Practices for Storytelling with Data’. The participants attended either one of them based on their interests. The day ended with the award ceremony and the night was enjoyed at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland with a grand Gala.

The final day of the conference began with two workshops simultaneously. One was on the theme of ‘Advancing Sensory Science by integrating Perceptual, Cognitive and Behavioral Psychology’. This workshop presented research on the role of context, fast and slow thinking and how to overcome the psychological sources of error. Another SSP-Sensometrics joint workshop was conducted on ‘Designing Consumer Relevant Testing’. A team of Sensory scientists and statisticians shared both the sides of a research study from a consumer-friendly perspective.  There was a session to meet and interact with the editor of the ‘Journal of Sensory Studies (JOSS)’ after the workshop. In the end, there was fireside chat where Dr. Jason Newlon and Lisa Ernst from Procter and Gamble shared their experiences on working with different product categories. Dr. Newlon closed the conference by calling everyone out to drive towards excellence with inspiration from all the sensory professionals.


Overall, the SSP Conference this year was packed with interactive scientific sessions and workshops. It also proved to be a great opportunity to connect with other sensory professionals and scientists. Personally, I got to meet and interact with Dr. Michael O’Mahony, Gail Vance Civille and Dr. Harry Lawless who are pioneer scientists in the field. Also, I had the pride to represent Kansas State University at SSP 2018 along with my team. I look forward to attending the conference again and to be more involved in the Society of Sensory Professionals.


CALL-TO-ACTION (CTA): I would like to invite you all to attend the next SSP conference in 2020 (Venue to be decided). There are a lot of volunteering opportunities available to get involved with SSP. Please contact me and I can get you plugged in the right team.

Written by Meetha Nesam James

Masters student at Kansas State University





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