Monell Chemical Senses Center has announced a partnership with Danone, Diageo and Mars Wrigley for a three-year research consortium to study the fundamentals of mouthfeel, which is described as the physical properties of food and beverages that include crunchiness, astringency, smoothness, stickiness, and creaminess.
“We are excited that these three companies have engaged in this project,” said Monell Executive vice president and chief impact officer, Nancy E. Rawson, Ph.D. “For consumers to accept new healthy and sustainable foods, such as the proteins in plant-based foods, mouthfeel is essential. It takes a truly forward-thinking corporate R&D program to invest in this type of foundational research.”
Monell investigators Paul Wise, Ph.D., and Linda J. Flammer, Ph.D., are leading the research program. “Mouthfeel plays a major role in the eating and drinking experience,” said Flammer. “It is a key driver in consumer acceptance or rejection of products, yet the mechanisms of how we sense textures in the mouth are largely unknown.”
According to a release by Monell, phase 1 of the study will use simple mixtures of fats and sweeteners in beverages sampled by a panel of study participants to uncover the scope of mouthfeel perception. Later phases will scale up the number of participants and introduce additional ingredients to define the mechanisms of individual differences in the perception of mouthfeel.
“Monell's unique ability to bring together basic and translational science to address little-studied areas in the food and beverage industry will lead to new solutions for improving human nutrition and food security,” added Rawson. “We need to understand how mouthfeel works if we are going to produce food that is healthy, sustainably produced, and enjoyed.”