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Flavor Perception Study: The role of color, cooling and aroma

Posted: May 16, 2007

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Another interesting finding was that although panelists believed purple-coolant-pineapple to be completely unassociated with each other, after repeated exposure the aroma concentration appeared to enhance cooling and that coolant concentration enhanced perceived pineapple intensity. It appears that this association between incongruent stimuli can be learned through experience.

Taking it to the Lab

Understanding the effect of exposure on flavor perception, particularly to new combinations of stimuli is extremely relevant to the job of a flavorist, especially when it comes to new product launches and their acceptance by the consumer. According to Hort, one tangible conclusion flavorists can take away is that “clearly cooling compounds can be used to enhance some congruent aromas and vice versa.”

Gary Reineccius (University of Minnesota), who reviewed the study for P&Fnow, believes that the results of this study are very important for flavorists, stating that, “It reinforces the idea that flavorists must look at the total system—not just the aroma. To recreate a flavor perception ALL of the stimuli must be presented—taste, aroma, color, texture, mouthfeel, etc.”

In addition, this study is a step towards understanding how the brain learns to associate sensation from different stimuli, which may help to develop strategies to encourage the population to learn to like reduced- salt, sugar or fat food products.