This is only an excerpt of the full article that appeared in P&F Magazine. The full content is not currently available online.
The ability to accurately predict which flavors will appeal to consumers is critical to food and beverage manufacturers around the world. Flavor is a key determinant of whether their products have the “wow!” appeal, or a distinctive edge over their nearest competitors, which in turn helps to influence repeat purchase by consumers.
Traditionally, consumer testing of products for flavor preference has involved an upper limit of six or seven product samples per session. A number of factors prevent the use of larger samples: when products are tasted by panelists, there is a limit to how many different samples can be ingested at one sitting before satiety occurs. Sensory fatigue and carry-over effects in the mouth are other problems that occur when tasting multiple product samples. These constraints mean that traditionally, the flavorist has been obliged to narrow down the possible flavor options from the outset, by pre-selecting a limited number of choices that can be evaluated by target consumers.
Technology Increases Speed to Market
Increasing the range and variety of samples using traditional approaches has been a costly and time-consuming option. However, by using unique flavor creation tools such as Givaudan’s Virtual Aroma Synthesizer (VAS), these procedural limitations can be overcome. The VAS is an aroma delivery device that combines human perception (sense of smell) with precise instrumentation. It allows for controlled aroma generation to effectively blend complex mixtures of flavor ingredients into a single aroma profile.