Better Living Through Sensory: Understanding how sensory cues can help reform our eating behaviours and improve our food environment.
Diet related chronic diseases are largely avoidable and result from the foods we choose, and the quantity and frequency with which we consume them. Acute food choices inform our dietary patterns and these behaviours are more strongly influenced by the sensory and cognitive aspects of eating, than the underlying nutritive properties of the food consumed, yet chronic disease and ill health are influenced by the prolonged exposure to a diet with poor nutritive properties and high energy-density. Sensory signals such as odours, tastes, and textures, influence food choice and intake decisions much earlier during consumption than physiological or metabolic feedback, guiding our eating behaviours and meal size. Whereas sensory appeal is synonymous with food choice, we will highlight examples of how sensory properties can also influence the amount of energy we consume at an individual and population level. Our research has identified the eating behaviours and food-textures that promote energy intake, and demonstrated that texture and structure can also be applied to slow and reduce intake, and influence oral processing, bolus properties and our post-prandial response to ingested nutrients. Sensory Scientists are uniquely positioned at the nexus of food science, nutrition and consumer behaviour to understand how a foods perceptual properties can influence intake and dietary patterns. The sensory properties of foods are an under-utilized tool in public health nutrition, presenting unique opportunities to motivate healthier choice and intake behaviours, while maintaining a foods sensory appeal and keeping ‘eating pleasure’ at the heart of food consumption.
What you will learn about: How sensory properties inform eating rate, energy intake and moderate metabolic responses. Introduction to how we study dietary intake behaviours by the sensory properties of foods (‘Sensory Epidemiology’). Opportunities for the future researchers and product developers to consider how sensory cues can be applied to influence how as well as what people eat.
Target Audience: Sensory scientists, nutritionists, consumer researchers, psychologists, health scientists, new product developers
Chair: Stephanie Mitchell, FIFST, CSci, RSensSci, MCIEH
From her late teens, Steph developed a love of food, leading to the decision to study it further and gaining an MSc in Food Science, Reading University. This then instilled a fascination for sensory science and she has built her successful career in this area. Steph is Senior Sensory Manager at ppl Insights, an independent market research agency based near Gatwick in Surrey. Ppl offers both sensory and consumer, quantitative and qualitative research solutions and works with many of the UK’s top FMCG companies.
Current Chair of IFST’s Sensory Science Group, Steph is also a volunteer on their Membership Assessment Panel. In addition, she is involved in Reading University’s Industry Advisory Board, which ensures that their Food Science courses are relevant to employers.
Speaker: Ciarán Forde, Professor and Chair, Sensory Science and Eating Behaviour, Division of Human Nutrition and Health, Wageningen University and Research
Ciarán Forde is Professor and Chair of the Sensory Science and Eating Behavior Chair group in the Division of Human Nutrition and Health at Wageningen University and Research in the Netherlands. The Sensory group provide undergraduate and post-graduate education and conduct research on how food sensory properties influence calorie selection, eating behaviour, energy intake and metabolism across the life-span. Prior to his current role, Prof. Forde has held public and private sector research roles in the UK (GSK), Australia (CSIRO), Switzerland (Nestlé Research) and Singapore (NUS/A*STAR). Prof. Forde has published over 100 scientific articles, and his research has been presented at approximately 200 national and international meetings. He is currently an Executive Editor for the journal Appetite, Section Editor ‘Nutrition Behavior; Food Intake Regulation’ for the European Journal of Nutrition, and an editorial board member for Nutrition Bulletin, Journal of Future Food and Journal of Texture Studies. Prof. Forde received his BSc in Food Chemistry and PhD in Sensory Science from the Dept. Nutrition, University College Cork in Ireland.
Q&A Moderator: Sarah Bilson, MIFST, Committee Member of the Sensory Science Special Interest Group (SSG), Sensory Scientist, Mars Wrigley
Sarah has over 13 years of experience in the sensory and consumer research field. Sarah’s career has covered sensory and consumer research consultancy, flavour research and FMCG innovation. She is passionate about understanding consumer needs and desires and translating them in to successful products. Sarah is a member of the SSG events working team and really enjoys bringing the latest developments in sensory and consumer science to the wider sensory community.
Live Q&A: Sarah Bilson and Ciarán Forde