Category Archives: Post of the month

Post of the Month: March 2021

Discovering a new methodology: Senso’flash

Nicolas Seince, Research Executive, Techni’sens, France

I was at home browsing the internet, I was finding many interesting topics like new recipes, new songs,… but one new sensory methodology intrigued me: Senso’Flash.

As a research executive, I needed to get some information on this method and I did, during the Poster session at Eurosense 2020.

Senso’Flash is an alternative, faster sensory analysis method, making it possible to reliably collect the sensory characteristics of a product with consumers. It enables to obtain similar data to the data that we can have with expert profiles!

Everyone know that collecting sensory properties is a key step throughout the whole life of a product. Companies generally use panels of experts to produce these sensory profiles. Studies, which require a rather heavy implementation. Then, it is why it is so important to develop alternative methods to gain time and maintain reliability of the results because the product development is faster than before. Today you can find many alternatives methods to QDA such as Projective Mapping (PM), Polarized Sensory Positioning (PSP), Sorting, …

How is Senso’flash different from other alternatives?

Their hypothesis is that “We are all experts to evaluate some products on some dimensions” and the key is by using a CATA-RATA approach based on consumer experience and expert vocabulary. Indeed, consumers only rate a descriptor if they feel comfortable enough to do so.

In comparison to classic QDA?

Profiles are very similar between the two profiles. Indeed, in their study only three over 20 descriptors were slightly different between QDA and Senso’flash approaches, one descriptors was related to skin results and could be linked to skin type variability among consumers.

This new methodology has been tested among three types of products: Face cream, Chocolate and processed cheese. The results were quite similar for all the products. It is amazing to see that a new method could be used not only for cosmetic or only for food.

What are the limits?

Right now they say that naïve consumers did not have a lot of products to test to avoid sensory bursting. Then it could be interesting to change the number of products evaluated by the consumers and also try with products with small differences. This could help to frame the scope of Senso’Flash.

I hope that this method intrigue you as well and I can’t wait to see the next steps and see the evaluation of this new methodology.

Written by: Nicolas Seince

Research Executive, Techni’sens, France

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Post of the Month: February 2021

A trip to Eurosense 2020

Dr. Sharon Puleo, Post-Doctoral researcher at the University of Naples (Italy), Department of Agricultural Sciences, Division of Food Science – Food Sensory Analysis

Dear passengers, your captain is speaking. Welcome onboard flight Eurosense2020. We have just taken off from the kitchen and we are currently landing in the living room. Please, turn on your personal devices but mute your microphone. Thanks for choosing Eurosense 2020: an online experience! Enjoy the conference!

Eurosense 2020 should have been placed in Rotterdam, but due to COVID-19 situation, the conference has been moved to the online version only. We all missed the opportunity to meet each other and the pleasure to have face-to-face interaction, which is one of the most exciting things about joining conferences. However, surprisingly, the online version was a success.

The theme of this edition was “A sense of Innovation”, with a specific focus on innovative approaches to study sensory perception in relation to preference, choice and different types of behaviour. Considering the vastness of the theme, the contributions covered topics related to sensory for healthy eating, consumer behaviour, neuroscience, and also sustainability, labelling and branding. Also, many contributions from other fields covered really interesting topics on the context cognition, sensometrics and advanced instrumental analysis.

The first day started with the Early Career Researcher Seminar, organised by the E3S Student & Early Stage Researcher Group, and chaired by Christina Dietz, Cristina Proserpio and Nicolas Science. The presentations were selected from a worldwide pool of 130 abstracts..I was among them!

As a young researcher, I’m used to joining conferences and to speak to other people, either students and researchers. At the beginning, the idea of not seeing the faces of the people who would listen to me and of not receiving the questions face-to-face did not particularly thrill me. I have to say that although we could not see each other, it was incredibly great. The attendees could write their questions and comments in a dedicated chat and the chairmen were there to read them and ask the speakers. In my opinion, early career researcher seminars are always a good opportunity for those young researchers who want to practice and grow up as scientists. Beyond this, in particular during this edition of Eurosense, the young researchers brought really interesting studies and demonstrated to be high-level speakers.

In the afternoon of the same day, the conference was opened by Betina Piqueras Fiszman and Kees de Graaf from Wageningen University, followed by two keynote speakers, Sam Bompass from Bompas & Parr (UK) and Suzanne Higgs from University of Birmingham (UK). Both introduced two big topics of sensory science. Sam Bompass described the imminent futures of flavours and fragrance, while Suzanne Higgs went through the interactions between metabolic, reward and cognitive processes in appetite control. Two wide topics which made us aware of the magnitude of the conference.

The first day ended with the 1st E3S Established Researcher Award, chaired by Erminio Monteleone.

Day two started with a keynote of Ellen van Kleef from Wageningen University and Research (The Netherlands), who spoke about the understanding and engaging adolescents in improving the healthiness of their food choices. Understanding adolescents is always hard, but the work of Ellen van Kleef proved that it is a smart strategy to improve healthy food choices, which is a challenging aspiration.

Dear attendees, please take a break before to join the two parallel sessions. You can take a coffee, biscuits and tea..or whatever you have in your kitchen!

After the refreshment break, two parallel sessions took place on consumer behaviour and healthy eating, chaired by Garmt Dijksterhuis and Lauren Rogers, respectively.

The morning ended with the flash poster presentation, chaired by Mari Sandell. Although the speakers had a very short time, I can say that all of them managed their space and caught the eye. In the afternoon, we joined other two parallel sessions, on implicit measures and sustainability, chaired by Klaus Durrschmid and Guido Ritter, respectively.

The second day ended with the first poster session of Eurosense2020. If I could give an award for the best event offered by Eurosense2020, I would recognise the poster session spot. It was simply great. I had a poster to show during the poster sessions, and the other attendees could enter my room, switch on the video camera and the microphone and talk with me. The room assigned to each speaker was perfectly structured, the system to upload the poster (as a pdf format) was intuitive and the management of the audience was user friendly and also nice.

The day after started with new insights on the olfactory sensations and how the nose influences the eating behaviour and food navigation. This interesting plenary session was offered by Sanne Boesveldt from Wageningen University and Research (The Netherlands), and chaired by Jonathan Rason. After that, Rebecca Ford chaired the E3S student awards session, during which Julia Sick, Naomi Munoz Vilches, Katt Philippe, Emma Regan and Martina Galler were awarded as winners. Congratulations!

Three parallel sessions followed during the morning; we learned something more about what is beyond liking (chair Julie Delarue), vulnerable populations (chair Lisa Methven) and on basics of sensory (chair Rebecca Ford). The morning ended with the second flash poster presentation, with studies related to the COVID-19.

After lunch, we had the second, and no less great, poster session, followed by the fifth plenary session chaired by Thierry Worch.  John Ennis from Aigora (USA) nicely described how sensory and consumer scientists will thrive in the fourth industrial revolution. After, we had the opportunity to choose between the other three parallel sessions. Pascal Schlich chaired the session about sensometrics; Liesbeth Zandstra chaired the session about the healthy eating; Sara Spinelli chaired the session about the COVID-19 and sensory science.

And here we go on the last day! What a big day! We woke up with two keynote speakers. Hedwig the Molder from Vrije Universiteit (The Netherlands) played a sensory-like Hamlet, showing his study “To like or not to like: On negotiating taste in children of families with lower socioeconomic status”. Marianna Obrist, from University College London (UK), described how to design multisensory experiences.

The last two parallel sessions were chaired by Virginie Pouyet and Davide Giacalone. We learned new interesting things about new technologies and new methods to study consumer behaviour.

Last plenary session (the seventh!) was chaired by Gerry Jager and the keynote speaker was Victoire Dairou from Danone (France) with a presentation named “User voice hacktivists in action: Engage users to co-design and drive the Food Revolution”.

Finally, Kees de Graaf and Betina Piqueras-Fiszman presented the venue of EuroSense 2022. The conference will be held in Turku (Finland)!!

I imagine there are pros and cons of attending a virtual conference. However, summing up, Eurosense2020 was a big success, even if it was a virtual conference.

Written by Dr. Sharon Puleo

Post-doc researcher at the University of Naples (Italy), Department of Agricultural Sciences                                                                                                      Division of Food Science – Food Sensory analysis lab.                                            Main studies on sensory sensitivity, food texture, consumer science.                Currently working on texture sensitivity and new methods to measure it.

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Post of the Month: January 2021

The Perks of Online Poster Presenting at Eurosense 2020

A review on virtually presenting a poster on rapid sensory methods compared to traditional descriptive methods at an online Eurosense

Dr. Imogen Ramsey, Teaching Associate and Post-Doctoral Research Assistant in Sensory and Consumer Sciences, University of Nottingham, UK

At the end of a very engaging, enjoyable and unique Eurosense, I sat in my flat in Nottingham in a cosy jumper and slippers on a cold and rainy day waiting for the closing ceremony to start. I was eagerly awaiting hearing the announcement of the location of Eurosense 2022 from Betina Piqueras-Fiszman and Kees de Graaf (Finland fyi) and had almost forgotten about the poster prize session awards. So I was shocked to see my name on screen as the winner of the 1st prize (whilst also panicking that I might have to come on screen to accept the award!) A congratulations also goes to the 2nd and 3rd place poster winners: Rui Costa Lima, Sense Test and Basak Oker, Givaudan.

What was the work about?

The work presented in this poster, titled ‘Rapid sensory profiling methods with consumers as an alternative to traditional descriptive analysis of non-alcoholic beers’, was conducted during my PhD at the University of Nottingham. My PhD research explored improving understanding and sensory quality of non-alcoholic beer, a growing sector here in the UK and across other European countries such as Spain and Germany. During my research I relied on descriptive profiling methods with a trained panel, but often wondered if similar results could be gained from using rapid methods with consumers.

Rapid descriptive profiling techniques have gained popularity in consumer and sensory science, as they do not require extensive panel training, are less time consuming and less expensive to run in comparison to more traditional methods such as quantitative descriptive analysis (QDA). The work conducted in this poster aimed to understand how products with a more challenging and complex profile are perceived by consumers, and whether this can be related to results conducted by a trained panel. Non-alcoholic beer is clearly a complex product, as not only does it have a temporal aspect, but it is also carbonated and normally served chilled. Rapid methods which require all samples to be presented at the same time, such as Napping, therefore contribute to increased challenges. Results for eight non-alcoholic beers were collected from a trained panel (n=10) using QDA, with consumers using Check-All-That-Apply (CATA) (n=104) and partial Napping (n=66).

And what were the results?

Multiple factorial analysis (MFA) was used to assess the similarities and differences between the methods, with positive agreement amongst trained panellists and consumers. RV coefficients were considerably higher compared to previous studies comparing similar techniques, with the RV coefficients of CATA shown as 0.843 and Partial Napping as 0.905 in comparison to QDA results. This therefore showed that rapid methods with consumers are reliable techniques for assessing the similarities and differences between complex non-alcoholic beer samples. Differences were found however in the way consumers and trained panellists described the samples, with consumers using vocabulary such as ‘citrus fruits’, whilst trained panellists used more specific terminology such as ‘grapefruit’. Further analysis is ongoing, as two different partial Napping techniques were also explored to understand the differences between partial Napping paired with Ultra Flash Profiling (UFP), and partial Napping with a pre-defined consumer lexicon.

Overall it was concluded that the selection of a rapid methodology over a more traditional approach of analysis is very much dependent on the objectives of the study, as well as the type of samples being assessed.

How does a virtual poster session at an online conference work?

The set up for the poster sessions this year included ‘virtual rooms’ for each poster within the conference app. Up to 15 visitors could attend each poster to discuss the work that was entailed, with the capabilities for the presenter of guiding the visitor through the poster by moving them around the figures and tables on screen. In addition, you were able to upload a PDF file of your poster to the app, so visitors could look at the poster in their own time and then enter the room if they had any questions.

It is hard to know what to expect from a poster session at any type of conference, as sometimes the poster sessions are planned right before the conference dinner so have limited attendance, other times you might be positioned furthest away from the tea/coffee area, and it can all feel a bit daunting with so many posters to peruse! The advantages in this case with the virtual rooms meant that you could really have personal chats with the attendees in your room, catch up with old friends and meet new ones. In addition, the use of technology meant that you could be waiting in your virtual room, whilst also visiting and chatting to other poster presenters about their work. You wouldn’t be able to do that at an in-person conference with someone positioned the other side of the conference hall!

And virtual conferences?

Overall, there are pros and cons to attending a virtual conference during a pandemic. You avoid the travelling time, can sit in your comfy clothes, enjoy your own delicious coffee whenever you like (am I the only one that thinks conference coffee always leaves little to the imagination!) and have dinner in the evening in the comfort of your own home. In addition, anyone around the world can attend (although I have real sympathy for colleagues in New Zealand who were presenting at 3am!) and the recording of live lectures means there is a source of information which you can catch up on later.

On the other hand, one of the main drawbacks of virtual conferences is the difficulty in networking with others. There’s a certain charm about meeting someone face to face which can be lost on camera. The organisers had thought this through and thus had included a ‘chat’ function in the app so you could catch up with peers, as well as planned conference calls in the breaks. In addition, I think many of us can agree that the conference dinners are also a highlight, with further opportunities to network as well as have some fun. The part I missed the most was learning about the different cultures in the cities we get to attend, as well as tasting the delicacies of the country. As Betina and Kees tucked into their gluhwein in the opening ceremony, I felt a pang of jealousy drinking a cup of English breakfast tea. Even though the organisers of Eurosense did an outstanding job of delivering the conference online last minute, I have to say I’m excited to be able to meet face-to-face in Finland in 2022, and of course sample the local delicacies!

A special thanks goes to the organising committee of Eurosense 2020, the Journal of Food Quality and Preference for sponsoring the award, my co-authors (Qian Yang, Laura Wolczynski, Peter Burgess and Rebecca Ford), as well as to everyone that visited my virtual room to discuss the work involved. For further information on the work conducted you can see the poster uploaded to the Eurosense web app (P1.066), or send me an email.

What’s next?

I submitted my thesis back in October 2020, and at the time of writing was nervously awaiting my viva. You’ll be glad to hear it all went well and I successfully defended my thesis on 20th January 2021!

In addition, I also started two very different roles within the University of Nottingham in November 2020 – one as a part time Teaching Associate in Sensory and Consumer Science, the other as a part time Post Doc looking at the use of smart technology to connect consumers with food. Both are very exciting roles and combine two different aspects I really enjoy, disseminating key sensory research through teaching, as well as researching novel areas in sensory and consumer science.

Written by (a very newly appointed) Dr. Imogen Ramsey

Teaching Associate and Post-Doctoral Research Assistant in Sensory and Consumer Sciences                                                                                                       University of Nottingham                                                                                          School of Biosciences                                                                                                 Division of Food Science and Nutrition

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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)

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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

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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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