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Leading international scientist returns to Denmark as a new professor at AU FOOD

Thought leader in sensory and consumer science Sara Jaeger has taken on the position as Professor in Food Consumer Science within the Department of Food Science at Aarhus University from January 1, 2024.

Photo: Sara Vöge

The journey began with a thesis on conducting consumer tests for beer in the early 1990s. By the end of 2023, Sara Jaeger had ascended to the top 3% of scientists globally.

Starting January 1, 2024, Sara Jaeger assumed the role of Professor in Food Consumer Science at the Department of Food Science, Aarhus University (AU FOOD).

Sara Jaeger is a thought leader in the field of sensory and consumer research and has provided a series of highly innovative contributions to the field, mostly in methodology development, where she has pioneered the use of perceptual mapping, conjoint analysis, experimental auctions to measure willingness to pay, the CATA method and the measurement of emotions in relation to the food experience.

Sara Jaeger was born and raised in Denmark. After spending almost all her professional life abroad, with the majority spent in New Zealand, she considers it an exciting challenge to establish a professional foothold in Denmark, as well as to turn her gaze more towards the European consumers. 

“I look forward to conducting research of the highest possible quality together with my new colleagues. Additionally, I would like to bring some of the international collaborations with me into my work at AU FOOD”, Sara Jaeger states and elaborates:

“One rewarding aspect of research collaborations is working with colleagues at different stages of their careers, as well as from different cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives. We learn from each other, and typically the outcome is improved”.

Focus on the consumer in green transition

It was her professionalism that originally took her to New Zealand, where she has spent most of her career at The New Zealand Crown Research Institute for Plant and Food Research, a research institute of international standing, widely acknowledged for high-quality work.

Sara Jaeger has been a highly productive researcher, with 220 publications in peer reviewed journals and a range of other peer-reviewed publications. Many of her publications are in the leading journals of the field, like Food Quality and Preference, Journal of Sensory Studies, Appetite and Food Research International. According to the 2024 AD Scientific Index by Standford University, Sara Jaeger’s H-index is 67, with a total of 13,683 citations.

Michelle Williams, Head of Department of AU FOOD, is thrilled with this strategic appointment as she sees that it is critical to put more focus on the consumer and the role of citizens in securing sustainable diets of the future. At the same time, the employment of Sara Jaeger emphasizes the strategic focus that AU FOOD takes on the consumer and citizen in the green transition.

“Without a more detailed and in depth understanding of consumer behaviors, their willingness to change, their acceptance of diverse and alternative proteins, and their preferences and barriers to novel foods, it will be impossible to achieve a sustainable diet. We are thrilled to have such an acknowledged leading international scientist as Sara join our very strong and internationally recognized Science Team focused on Food Quality Perception & Society”, says Michelle Williams.