The science teams focus is understanding food quality and perception via a cross-disciplinary synergy of multisensory human food analysis, experimental psychology, physiological responses and cognitive neuroscience, in the design and development of high quality, better-tasting, more stimulating, more memorable, and healthier food and drink experiences. We work in all product categories across the food chain, from primary production to food processing and on to eating and retailing scenarios with the consumer, including fundamental perspectives on the human senses to understanding eating applicability in food quality.
Our outcome areas are a determination of the sensory and perceptual effects of the intake of food products and constituents in relation to human health with a specific focus on, e.g. appetite, sensory specific satiety, sweetness and sugar reduction, lipid reduction and substitution, basic sensory cross modal interactions, the influence of sound on taste, and on to understanding how our taste sensory system works. Our research is also underpinned by studies on the development of sensory methods and the application of multivariate data analysis in understanding sensory relationships. Moreover, enhancing knowledge about the ways in which variation in foods, contexts and individuals affect consumers’ attitudes, hedonic eating experience and intake is also central in our focus.
Methodologies include the development, application and evaluation of unique approaches to measure and analyse food properties based on human perception from a mind and mouth and physiological perspective. FQS has professional; trained and tested sensory panels in different product categories and a state of the art ISO-approved sensory analysis laboratory. Qualitative and quantitative consumer studies, (including children, adolescents, adults and the elderly) both in-house and in natural settings, are also utilised to elucidate consumers’ reactions to foods before and after food intake and with repeated use. Important also at FQS is the synergy of human sensory measurements and methods with onsite instrumental techniques e.g. Texture and colour analysis, GC-MS, LC-MS and NMR. Moreover, via key project partnerships we integrate neuro-imaging, physiological measurements, clinical medicine and psychological paradigms into our research.