Determining flavour and appearance

Fruit and vegetable taste panels

Healthy and tasty fruits and vegetables can improve your appetite! The scientists of business unit Greenhouse Horticulture of Wageningen University & Research measure the flavour levels of fruits and vegetables with a consumer panel, sensory panel and with measurements in the laboratory.

Research into the taste of fruit and vegetables is carried out for all links in the market chain. We see flavour as a carrier for health. Our knowledge can help you market your products.

Consumer panel

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Our hedonic consumer panel may determine the flavour level of your products. The panel, which consists of 400 male and female assessors, objectively rates which fruits and vegetables taste best.

Tasting a wide variety of crops

Our consumer panel has already conducted flavour tests for a wide variety of fruits and vegetables: tomato, pepper, cucumber, melon, strawberry, raspberry, carrot, Brussels sprouts, eggplant, pear, asparagus, cabbage, pumpkin, beet, carrot, kale, hot pepper, and samphire. The liking is expressed on a 0 – 100 scale. If necessary, products can be prepared in our steaming ovens.

Tasting conditions

All samples are presented to the panel according to a randomized design. Our sensory lab is equipped with individual testing booths, which enables our assessors to fully focus on the flavour of your products. In a hedonic test, usually 50 -100 consumers participate.

Sensory panels Fruits and Vegetables

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Our sensory panels are able to distinguish a wide variety of flavour attributes. The highly trained panel members can identify and describe the different flavour attributes in your products. Sensory panels are employed to gain a better understanding of consumer preferences.

Flavour profiles

Ordinary consumers find it sometimes difficult to delineate flavour beyond “tasty” or “not so tasty”. For most people it is hard to give a detailed description of a taste experience. Our sensory panels are trained to accurately describe their flavour experiences. These panels make use of a list of flavour attributes (descriptors), including for example sweetness, firmness, green aroma and earthy aroma, to describe the flavour of a product. The extent to which each attribute is present in a product is expressed on a scale of 0-100. The data are combined into a flavour profile of each product.

Essential product characteristics

Through an intensive training our sensory panels are able to accurately describe essential product characteristics that determine the flavour of products. Through the shared vocabulary that is developed during the training sessions, the sensory panels are a valuable research instrument. Sensory panels are able to accurately measure the characteristics on which consumers subconsciously base their flavour preferences.

Product optimization

Our research does mostly not aim at describing the widest possible array of different attributes. Instead we may select the key attributes for you, those upon which consumers base their flavour preferences. Flavour research with our consumer panel (Which of these products do I like the most?), trained sensory panels (Which flavour characteristics are present?) and the combination of the two (Which attributes determine the flavour?) could be of great value for you, and may enable you to optimize the flavour of your products.

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