Challenge: Finding the next generation toothpaste

Have you ever been confronted with having to optimise the flavour (i.e. taste and smell) of one of your products? And having problems choosing which direction to go? The Colgate-Palmolive company did and decided to use NIZO for helping to solve their problem.

Colgate challenge:  finding the next generation toothpaste

The problem was simple: mint flavours are very important for freshness in toothpaste, but what would be the concepts for the next-generation; freshness 2.0 ?

To investigate this, multiple systems would need to be consumer tested which would require lots and lots of product development. This would be significantly complicated by the fact that consumers do not only care about the type of the flavour, but also its timely effect. Maybe the ideal toothpaste would first convince you that the brushing implies effective cleaning, next the aroma should kick in to reassure you that you indeed have a fresh breath and hypothetically the last stage could be a phase where you do take good care of your oral cavity that has just been confronted with heavy brushing.

All these concepts are extremely difficult to prototype if you cannot timely change the sensations during tooth brushing. And it was exactly this reason that this company addressed NIZO to look into this.

Patented research by Colgate and NIZO

The work that was done has been recently published in a pending patent application by Colgate-Palmolive and NIZO. This patent PCT/US2014/046925 covers the system and method for making an oral care formulation. This system is based on the use of an olfactometer in combination with a gustometer to deliver relevant stimuli to a person in situ. The olfactometer is an instrument to deliver an aroma to a person while consuming food or using an oral health product. The gustometer does the same for non-volatile compounds such as taste compounds, trigeminal  (pain as from mint, pepper of carbon dioxide) or astringency. NIZO flavour experts Peter de Kok and Ann Stijnman together with former NIZO employee Dr. Kerstin Burseg are the co-authors of this patent.

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