The major Sensory Science can be followed both from the Master Nutrition and Health, and from the Master Food Technology. Daan follows it from the Master Food Technology. One of the last parts of the master was his internship, which he will tell about below.
"After attaining my Chemistry degree at a college in Utrecht, I started with the master Food Technology in Wageningen. Within this master I follow the major Sensory Science. This major is a collaboration between Wageningen University and the University of Copenhagen. I did my internship for this master at IFF (International Flavors & Fragrances), a company that produces flavors and fragrances. Via a teacher I managed to acquire the email address of this company and after a telephonic interview I could do my internship here for three months.”
"My activities were divided over two locations. I was mostly stationed in Hilversum, but for analytical testing I traveled to Tilburg. In Hilversum I made various raw material mixtures, which I later analysed in Tilburg. The research was primarily analytical chemistry. It came down to assessing a method used to analyse packaged flavor systems and possibly to improve it to attain more accurate results. In this method, the product is separated into individual components on an analytical column, and subsequently quantified and qualified.
During the internship I also was working daily to develop my palate . By regular testing of commonly used molecules in a sweet and sour water solution I could learn to recognise characteristic flavor molecules and as such train and improve my palate. Beside this project, there was plenty of time to participate in small sensory tests of very different products myself. As such, I tasted products ranging from yogurt to vodka."
"In the end, the internship was not typically of a sensory nature, i.e. really about the perception of taste, but combined with the taste tests and participations in sensory tests it made for a really fun and diverse internship."
"Within the internship my knowledge of Food Technology was a lot less useful than in my graduation project. This is partly because IFF is a commercial enterprise, whereas a master is more scientifically orientated. Where a university emphasizes on research, IFF focuses much more on getting projects."
"I might do a PhD after my studies. But if IFF would offer me a nice job, I wouldn’t say no. Also I would want to continue in the coffee business, in which I have done my graduation course."