MCB-33306 Integrated Sensory Science


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Independent study0
Course coordinator(s)dr. B Piqueras Fiszman
Lecturer(s)dr. B Piqueras Fiszman
dr. MA Stieger
C van Twisk
prof. V Fogliano
Examiner(s)prof. dr. ir. JCM van Trijp

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Principles of Sensory Science; Advanced Sensory Methods and Sensometrics; Instrumental Sensory Science; Advanced Statistics (MAT-24306 Advanced Statistics for Nutritionists or MAT-20306 Advanced Statistics).

Having passed the course Advanced Sensory Methods and Sensometrics (MCB32806) or an equivalent one is strongly recommended to successfully pass this course.

Continuation courses:

Thesis within the Sensory Science Specialization.


This course aims to develop first-hand insights in, and advanced practical skills on, the entire process of food product development/optimisation, drawing relationships between instrumental data of physical and chemical properties of food, sensory perceptual data, and data on consumer preferences.
Previous knowledge on advanced sensory methods, sensometrics, and the statistical software R are required to successfully pass the course.
The student will understand the associations between process and product variables on the one hand, and sensory perception and consumer preference on the other hand in an integrated way. Importantly, they will have to interpret and critically assess the relationships between these data and be able to draw informed conclusions/recommendations on the best product formulation.
The course will help develop team learning and management skills as well as individually-oriented research abilities during the whole course. The students, organized in groups of max. 4 people combining different backgrounds will work on a food case study which involve consumer-oriented sensory science problems as experienced by sensory specialists working in a company within the food industry. In groups, the students will have to make informed decisions on which instrumentation and advanced food-consumer-oriented sensory experiments to conduct to be able to successfully address the problem/goal. Advanced tools for instrumental measurements are combined with methods for sensory data analysis. Instrumental measures, carried out within the context of intensive practicals depend on the specific problem, but may include colour/video measurements, image analysis, texture and viscosity measurements, olfactometry, HPLC, and antioxidant activity. The students will also decide the most appropriate sensory and consumer techniques based on timing and resources limitations (as it happens in real-life industry cases). Profiling methods could be consumer-based methods such as free-choice profile, flash profile, CATA, etc. in combination with preference data. Students will link these three sets of results with the help of the multivariate statistical analyses performed individually.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- assess the most common challenges that food companies face during product development;
- design an experimental protocol in order to address a given problem/goal;
- recognize instrumental analysis methods to apply to address a specific research problem;
- apply the most convenient instrumental analysis methods;
- evaluate which sensory and consumer tests are available and make an informed decision on the most convenient one(s);
- analyse independently the results of different instrumental, sensory, and hedonic data;
- critically reflect on the results and use synthesis skills to deduce the most relevant information;
- communicate effectively scientific results and managerial advice on the most favourable solutions providing a robust rationale for the procedure followed.


Lectures will be given during week 1,2, and 3 in the mornings. Several topics related to real-life case studies will be addressed reflecting the challenges that a company faces regularly. The lectures will count with the input of guests from different industries, who will share their experiences from a practical and managerial perspective. In addition, some lectures with key points on practical issues about instrumental and sensory and consumer techniques will be given as reminder for students, but from a problem-solving view. These lectures are intended to encourage conversation between the students and the lecturers and invited industry members.

The course consists of three weeks of practical training.
Intensive practical training: Students work in groups of 4 people on the optimisation and innovation of one product that they will develop in the laboratory. For this, they will follow two approaches explored through two activities. They will formulate the product having some constrains and restricted options. On these samples they will perform several physical and chemical tests, combined with sensory and consumer data collection following the correct protocols. The two activities will lead to two separate reports, an individual one and a group one.
Extensive practical training: This block will also involve some consumer techniques and advanced statistical analyses which the students are expected to conduct under minimal supervision. All the datasets will be formatted appropriately for the statistical tests to be applied (significant differences between samples, relationship between physicochemical and sensory attributes, and drivers of liking, or e.g., healthiness perception).


The overall grade consists of:
- An individual report (65%) and a group report (30%);
- The group presentation and performance during the course (5%).
Attending all lectures and practicals is required. A grade of at least 5.5 is required in the two reports to pass this course.
Check the course guide for details on examination.


- Analysing Sensory Data with R (ISBN: 9781466565722);
- Rapid Sensory Profiling Techniques, 1st Edition (ISBN: 9781782422488);
- Novel Techniques in Sensory Characterization and Consumer Profiling (ISBN: 9781466566293);
- Sensory Evaluation of Food: Principles and Practices. 2nd ed. (ISBN: 13 978 1441964878).

Compulsory for: MFTFood TechnologyMScG: Sensory Science4WD
MNHNutrition and HealthMScD: Sensory Science4WD