Smelling of an aroma creates a flavour image that relates to the flavour and taste of the product the aroma is associated with. For example, although sweetness cannot be smelled, the smell of vanillin is perceived as sweet as it commonly occurs in sweet products such as confectionery. This aroma-taste association is powerful to enhance sweetness perception.
Aromas in the nose
Most studies on aroma-altered taste perception have measured in case the aroma was part of the solution and swallowed with the tastant (retronasal aroma delivery). In collaboration with Pepsi-Cola, we measured sweetness intensity enhancement when the aroma was not swallowed but given in orthonasal fashion via the nose. This was achieved by an olfactometer that allows the controlled delivery of aromas into the nose. Solutions were perceived as significantly sweeter if a sweet smelling odorant was delivered orthonasally compared to solutions without the aroma.
Optimize your products
Understanding the impact of aroma perception on the overall flavour of a product is of great help in product optimization, e.g. in low sugar products.