Virginie’s Eurosense report

E3S Student Award 2014 – Report from Eurosense

Virginie Pouyet, AgroParisTech/Centre de recherche de l’Institut Paul Bocuse, France, awarded for her poster entitled:

Influence of flavour enhancement on food liking and consumption in elderly depending on their cognitive status

By Virginie Pouyet

Thanks to the European Sensory Science Society (E3S), I had the pleasure to attend to the conference EuroSense 2014 held in the delightful city of Copenhagen in Denmark from September 7th to 10th. EuroSense is a key congress for industrials and researchers interested in sensory and consumer sciences. EuroSense provides thus for everyone a great opportunity to discuss on his or her research topics with the best researchers both in Europe and worldwide.

The theme of the congress this year was “a sense of life” promising exciting discussions around the understanding and the dynamic of perceptions during the lifespan and the new methodologies to study these questions. The different oral sessions, workshops and the 367 posters presented during the congress did not disappoint these expectations leading attender great satisfaction. The understanding of sensory perceptions associated to genetic, biological and psychological factors were treated for food and non-food research areas. The status of the consumer and the crucial role of the context were particularly discussed this year with different presentations focused on the meal experience, studied from the consumer’s point of view and in a given context (real or simulated). In this “context”, recent research projects on children and elderly were major focuses: a workshop was devoted to food preferences and eating habits in childhood and another one was devoted to health and quality of life in an aging population. Innovative methods based on new technologies and media (mobile apps or social networks) or inspired by disciplines as cognitive psychology (implicit methods) or experimental economics (experimental auctions) were also presented, providing new research lines and methodologies for sensory and consumer studies.

I presented during the congress a poster on one of the studies conducted in the framework of my PhD entitled “Food attractiveness among elderly with different cognitive status”. In this study, I have focused on the influence of flavour enhancement on food liking and consumption for elderly with different cognitive status, in using and comparing different methods of food presentation (paired-comparison and monadic sequential tests). The results of this study have highlighted that food liking is a driver of food intake for elderly, whatever their cognitive status. Moreover, the results have shown that the modulation of food flavour has an influence on food consumption, even for elderly with severe cognitive troubles. This result suggests that working on sensory properties of food is a strategy to enhance food consumption for elderly with cognitive troubles as Alzheimer’s disease patients, at risk of malnutrition. Finally, this study provides methodological tools for further research on food preferences for elderly with cognitive troubles living in institution, which represent a growing population. Thanks to this poster and the attractiveness of the prize awarded by the E3S for this work, I had the opportunity to discuss my findings with a large number of researchers and to strengthen my network.

The closing keynote speaker Sara Jaeger gave an enlightening and convincing talk, applauded long and loud by the attenders. Sara Jaeger spoke about the future of sensory and consumer research and provided for everyone future research directions. From my point of view, her talk strengthened my conviction that integrating sensory and consumer sciences in health and well-being issues represents a future challenge, especially for frail population as the elderly. Understanding changes in perceptions due to disease or medical treatment in developing adapted methods applied in the field (for example in hospital or geriatric institution) is thus a promising research direction which I will continue investigating.

To sum-up, I would like to thank the member of the E3S committee for awarding me as this offered me the opportunity to attend to this very interesting congress. I finally recommend to any member of the E3S community to attend to Eurosense as it provides useful insights in recent sensory and consumer research and allows discussing with international researchers in this field.

See you in 2016 at the next EuroSense to be held in my lovely country, France (Dijon)!