Sensory Food Science

Front row (from left): Hely Tuorila, Ingela Palmujoki, Elina Kytö, Kevin Deegan.
Upper row: Jutta Varis, Laila Seppä, Outi Törnwall.

Activities of the group are shared between research into the sensory quality of foods and the origin (genetic and other) as well as changes of food preferences. We are also interested in the relationship of perception of sensory attributes to food preferences and other consumer responses. Long-term research interests are consumer responses to unfamiliar foods; the effect of verbal information and food attitudes on food perceptions and preferences; and the relationship between preferences and food choice. Among senses, we have been particularly interested in the sense of smell - its functioning, heritability and consequences to food perceptions and preferences. We have experience of investigating consumer groups of different age, from school children to the elderly, and of segmenting consumers based on their food orientations. At present, the following projects are underway (names of doctoral students working in the projects in brackets):

Apples

    Apple samples before sensory testing

  1. Developing the consumer quality of domestic apples (2009-2013). The aim of the project is to develop a lexicon for the description of Finnish apples, to describe the promising cultivars and to screen through consumer studies the cultivars suitable for the Finnish market. This is a joint project with Professor Risto Tahvonen at the Agrifood Finland (MTT) (Laila Seppä)

 

Cheese

Cheese in the ripening room at the start of its 3 month ripening journey

  1. Sensory consequences of novel product processing methods on cheese (2010-2014).  The special processing method of interest is low pressure homogenisation of milk. Its effect on the sensory properties, most of all flavour, is studied in matured  cheese. This is is a joint project with Professor Tapani Alatossava, Department of Food and Environmental Sciences (Kevin Deegan)

 

Finntwin12 - study participants performing taste tests

Finntwin12 - study participants performing taste tests

  1. Heritability of chemosensory perceptions and preferences (2009-2013).  The overall aim is to determine genetic and environmental factors in the development of food preferences and, ultimately, health behaviour. The data have been collected from young adult Finns who belong to the FinnTwin12 group. This twin cohort (over 4 years) is being investigated in consecutive waves at the Hjelt Institute (Division of Public Health) at the University of Helsinki. The project is collaboration with Professors Jaakko Kaprio (Hjelt Institute) Markus Perola (THL-National Institute of Health and Welfare))(Outi Törnwall)

Principal investigator:  Professor Hely Tuorila
Research group:  PhD Kevin Deegan, PhD Laila Seppä, PhD Outi Törnwall, research technician Jutta Varis.