Sensory Science and Eating Behaviour

This chair group (led by prof. Kees de Graaf) is based at the Division of Human Nutrition. Scientific staff includes people with different backgrounds, i.e., human nutrition, food technology, psychology, and (neuro-)biology. The group is one of the few sensory science groups in the world embedded in a nutrition environment. Therefore, the group has a prominent scientific profile on the area of sensory science, health and well-being.

We address important scientific issues that are highly relevant for society. Some examples are the technology and psychobiology of sugar, salt and fat reduction in foods, the role of sensory signals in energy intake and obesity, the development of early food preferences and sensory perception in health and disease. 

The chair group covers the following research themes:

  1. Food structure, oral processing and sensory perception focuses on the interplay between food structure, oral processing behaviour, and dynamic sensory perception and is related to food sciences.
  2. Food-Gut-Brain interplay includes various topical issues that address the impact of sensory and metabolic signals on eating behaviour, health and well-being.
  3. Sensory and metabolic drivers of eating behaviour focuses on the effects of sensory (taste, smell) and metabolic signals (nutritional properties, hormones) on the physiological and neurobiological responses underlying eating behaviour.

Educational activities focus on the BSc minor on the "Psychobiology of Eating Behaviour", and the MSc in "Sensory Science". The BSc minor has courses on Nutrition Behaviour, Principles of Sensory Science, and Nutritional Neurosciences. The MSc in Sensory Science is one year of regular course work on different elements of sensory science, and one year composed of an academic MSc thesis and an internship.

The group has strong links with the chair groups of Product Development and Quality Management (prof. Vincenzo Fogliani), and Marketing and Consumer Behaviour (Prof. Hans van Trijp), and the consumer science group at Food and Biobased Research (dr. Marchel Gorselink) of Wageningen University & Research.