Thesis subject

The influence of food odor exposure on satiation and food choice

Odor is an important characteristic of food, influencing food choice behavior. It is well known that odors can be appetizers (e.g. smell of freshly baked bread). Short exposure to food odors enhance salivation and hunger feelings.

On the other hand, people report to be less hungry after cooking a meal (long exposure). In this study, we want to investigate some aspects of this apparent paradox. The primary objective is to investigate if odor exposure time affects salivation, hunger and appetite ratings, food choice and/or food intake.

Besides the effect of exposure time on satiation, we are interested in the effect of the type of odor. During life time, we have learned how much energy certain foods provide to us. This is a linkage between the sensory characteristics of food and its post-ingestive effects. This learning helps people to decide how much they have to eat from foods to ingest enough energy for the day. Because odor is an important sensory characteristic of food, it may be the case that some odors provoke stronger satiation responses than others (e.g. fatty odors more than fruity odors). Therefore, we want to investigate different odors in this study to see whether the effect of odor exposure time on salivation, hunger and food choice is influenced by the type of odor.

Finally, we want to investigate if the hunger state of people influences the outcomes of this study. Different odors provoke different hedonic responses (how much you like the food). However, the hedonic responses also depend on your metabolic state. Food is liked more, when people are hungry.

Experimental work                          

You may contribute to the pilot studies preceding the main experiment (explore different odors, find relationship between exposure time and hunger feeling, gain information), help with the actual experiment (execute a human trial in the restaurant of the future, analyze data) or start your own experiments, depending on your interests and the possibilities at that moment, e.g. screen different odors on satiation power.

A project in collaboration with the Division of Human Nutrition


  • Pieternel Luning                       
  • MariĆ«lle Ramaekers