Expert Tailoring Taste and Flavour
Freshly ground coffee, the smell of baked bread on a Sunday morning, a slice of old Amsterdammer cheese….simply imagining these odors is powerful enough to trigger our desire to taste these products. It is the unique combination of odor molecules of different structures and concentrations that blend into a characteristic odor profile.
And this is my work: exploring the interactions between odorants in foods and beverages to enhance desirable notes (e.g. freshness, sweetness) or mask undesirable off-flavours (e.g. methional in orange juice or beer).
Being a food chemist by training, I specialized on flavour perception during my PhD at Nottingham University. This was followed by an appointment as flavour scientist at NIZO food research. At NIZO, I further specialized on human olfaction. This gives me the opportunity to work with an Olfactometer, GC-O, PTR MS or Olfactoscan to analyze and optimize odor profiles of a variety of products (e.g. soft drinks, chewing gum).
We also combine Olfactometer and Gustometer (a computer controlled device to deliver taste profiles) to measure the impact of odorants on taste qualities to enhance sweetness or saltiness via so called “cross modal aroma-taste interactions”. This is a promising approach to lower the levels of sugars and NaCl in foods.
My job requires knowledge and creativity - and this is what I like!