Thesis subject

Getting a better grip on the liking of foods

Texture is one of the important qualities of food perception. It determines how the food is appreciated while eating. The texture of food products is influenced by its composition, ingredient processing and preparation and food microstructure. During mastication and oral processing the texture and its perception changes constantly. It can be said that texture perception is a complex dynamic process, because these changes are influenced by the interaction between food type, chewing behaviour, saliva composition and perception. On the other hand, how foods are perceived has a big influence on the acceptance and liking.

To better understand these aspects and predict an optimal sensory experience we are researching the interactions between ingredients, processing, food microstructure and the sensory experience and food liking. This research creates possibilities on different areas. For instance: It is important for elderly people to consume enough of all the important nutrients, under the condition of sensory impairment and concomitant boredom due to aging. In innovative restaurants, chefs are constantly searching for new combinations of gustatory, olfactory and visual sensations on the plate of their customers by adapting recipes via processing and ingredient choice.

Research topics

One of the topics is investigating the link between liking and complexity of dynamic texture perception. This is studied using data from TDS sensory tests  (Temporal Dominance of Sensations).

Another research topic is to determine the interrelationships between recipe, according processing methods,  and liking of different food products produced by top restaurants, and to what extent the microstructural information is able to improve the accurateness of such interrelationships. This project includes a possible stay in Barcelona.