On Thursday 21 April, the Sensory Symposium ‘A Taste of Change’ took place in the Food Innovation Academy (FIA) in Vlaardingen. In this unique and inspiring location, 120 sensory experts enjoyed an extensive program in the field of sensory research.
This year the focus of the symposium was not only on current trends and the influence of COVID-19 on sensory research, but also on the role of this field experience in the future. What are the challenges and what are the opportunities for further development and specialization of sensory research?
During the morning program, speakers Wim Vaessen (Essensor) and keynote speakers Annie Neller and James Gater (MMR Research Worldwide) took along the experts into the future. Using new technologies and methodologies, their vision mainly focusses on developing food that fits into a healthy diet and/or is contributing to a more sustainable food system.
The subsequent parallel sessions focused on current trends such as Ecosystem innovation, Oral processing, Sensory design and Plant-based food products.
After lunch Bas Klarenbeek of Tony’s Chocolonely kicked off the afternoon program. He took the audience on a ride from bean to bar and the impact of Tony’s products.
During the second round of parallel sessions, current subjects of interest such as Emerging digital techniques, the insights from COVID-19 research on the chemical senses, GenZ ‘Power Moments’ and ‘reinventing hygiene towards a better normal’ were discussed.
Keynotes Thierry Worch (FrieslandCampina) and Tian Yu & John Ennis (Aigora) inspired the audience with current possibilities to apply machine learning approaches to predict cluster segments based on consumer demographic, behavioral, and psychographic information.
The closing keynote speaker was Kees de Graaf (WUR). With his surprising insights into the functional role of the smell, taste and texture of food & beverages determining eating behavior, he concluded his impressive career in Sensory Research. He received a standing ovation and his mission “make the healthy choice the happy choice” will certainly be continued by the new generation of sensory experts. During the traditional overviews of the Universities (of applied Science), 5 students and alumni had the opportunity to present their insights on this day.
The day was chaired and summarized by Prof. Hans van Trijp (WUR) and ended with a convivial closing drink with champagne to also celebrate the 25th anniversary of the main sponsor Essensor!
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