The assessors of the taste panels of Greenhouse Horticulture Business Unit of Wageningen University & Research will work from home the coming period. The reason for this is the outbreak of the coronavirus. The assessors receive instructions on how best to conduct the taste tests in the home situation.
Taste is important for horticultural products. That is why decades ago WUR started with taste research. Growers and breeders, among others, make use of this. There are different ways of taste research, such as taste models, taste panels and sensors. In recent years there has been an increasing need for such research: taste is clearly becoming more important. Incidentally, it appears that human taste research scores about as well as research with the help of sensors.
The Greenhouse Horticulture Business Unit of Wageningen University & Research has two types of flavor panels for food products. First of all, the consumer panel. The consumer panel tests the liking of a product and has approximately 250 assessors. In addition, there are some sensory panels. These focus on specific flavors; the assessors are specially trained for this. There are sensory panels for tomato, pepper, strawberry, melon, fresh herbs, beetroot and other products. There is even a sensory panel for "fifth flavor": umami. Umami is a flavor found in ripe tomatoes.
The Greenhouse Horticulture Business Unit of Wageningen University & Research has facilities especially for the flavor panels. Due to the corona crisis, these cannot be used at the moment. That is why taste studies have started in home situations. The assessors of the taste panels can collect a bag of products at a predetermined time. These products also include instructions for cutting the product. Assessors can fill in the findings online.