Sensory evaluation – Food science & technology | Noldus Customer Success Story
I have these wonderful memories about an apple pan pie that my mother would make. And when I think about it, or when I experience it in my real life, it’s just heartwarming. And I wonder what makes me connect to that product? Hi, I’m Susan Duncan, I’m a professor in Food Science & Technology at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, better known as Virginia Tech. As a food scientist, I really focus on the role of sensory evaluation, and that’s the way people interact with food, and the way their senses capture that reaction. We are also very interested in quality, safety, just the hygiene of the product and how people respond to those types of things. We also are looking at methodology. This is an amazing time for us to be able to use machine learning, in terms of capturing how people are responding emotionally to products, but we also are thinking about how that relates to what the brain is doing. We’ve had the privilege of using Noldus software in our laboratory. It augments our traditional sensory evaluation technologies and allows us to try and explore new things. We really focus on capturing the quality of products, understanding when they are good products and when products are maybe not quite prepared for success. For example, we’ve done some work on fluid milk, and the flavor of fluid milk, and the packaging of fluid milk, and how that could help increase the potential for someone to connect with it, and enjoy the experience, and maybe then be willing to consume more for the health value as well as the pleasant interaction. I think the challenges we have are relating
to filling those gaps in knowledge between what we do physiologically and what we say we are going to do. We all the time are declaring how we’ll respond or what we’ll do when we answer a questionnaire, but the reality is, there may be other drivers implicit within us, things that we don’t know about, that we can’t acknowledge. With that learning, then we can also provide guidance, guidance to policy, guidance to new opportunities for food
and innovation, for packaging innovation. For the opportunity for us to educate students, so that they’ll be better prepared to use these technologies and to apply them in a way that helps advance our understanding and our purpose.