To investigate the current trends in the sensory industry, the history of sensory research must first be reviewed. Sensory research began with the five basic senses; smell, sight, hearing, taste and touch. Chemical senses have been defined as taste and smell whereas non chemical senses include sight, hearing and touch (Lundström et al. 2012).
Sensory science is an area that has greatly developed its spectrum of research in the last sixty years or so. The area of sensory science has greatly enhanced its spectrum of research in the last sixty years. This is primarily due to the acceleration of research and technology developments. In the 1950’s and 1960’s, there were significant changes in the sensory world that propelled it into what it has become today. The methods and practices conducted in today’s sensory science have been moulded by the drive to increase the level of food quality on a mainstream basis (Martens, 1999). Quality and sensory first began to be investigated in the 1930’s and 50’s. In the 1960’s, the utilisation of trained panels began (Muñoz, 2002). In the late 20th century, awareness programmes and education initiatives were created. The late 20th century also saw the methods of sensory evaluation and research being documented and published (Muñoz, 2002).
Rose Marie Pangborn was one of the most influential scientists at that time with regard to sensory work (Martens, 1999). This was confirmed when, in 1965, she was a co-author of a book, “Principle of Sensory Evaluation of Food”, which remains to this day the basis of sensory evaluation research. This book was used as a base for teaching and learning about sensory work. Conferences have become a widely used resource in the sensory science world. The latest Pangborn Symposium, in 2013, will be discussed later in this study.
In recent years, sensory science has transformed into a broader spectrum of research and can most certainly be defined as a multidisciplinary field (Martens, 1999). It encompasses a wide range of topics from sensometrics and psychophysics to cognitive studies. The main drive for this change in sensory research is the consumer. This is evident by the research carried out in the 1970’s which focused primarily on initial tasting and responses to the food (Martens, 1999). The research continued to evolve and the 1990’s saw a greater prominence placed on cognitive and behavioural studies (Martens, 1999).
Sensory science and consumer research can be said to be closely correlated as consumer response recognised as one of the main priorities for food companies when developing their products. Thorough sensory evaluation tests using trained panels are a commonly used and often a mandatory step in new product development by many of the major food companies. When trained panels are used, it provides the researchers with the ability to interpret the consumer’s needs based on the results from the sensory properties (Bech et al. 1997). Comprehensive...