Presentation on theme: "“Why One Person’s Taste Bliss is Another Person’s Poison" Prof. Tony Blake."— Presentation transcript:
“Why One Person’s Taste Bliss is Another Person’s Poison" Prof. Tony Blake
“How Human Beings Learn to Like the Flavours of Foods and Drinks" Prof. Tony Blake
…..of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.....but in spite of this warning Eve was typically human.
Humans are the only animals which cook and process the foods they find………… …...and in this way create new flavors which never existed before in Nature.
Humans eat the foods which they have created through their methods of cooking and cuisine. The flavors of these foods are dependent on the cooking processes used and are consequently man made. In human history there have been continual changes in food and flavor preferences
The Evolving Scientific Base of the Flavor Industry 19th Century 20th Century 21st Century Solvent Extraction Molecular Separation Physical Chemistry Steam Distillation Identification Biochemistry Fractional Distillation Synthetic Organic Chemistry Human Physiology
For most of the 20th Century the focus of the Flavor Industry was the identification of those molecules which give odor and taste to food and drinks
1950 to 1990 New analytical techniques allowed these molecules to be identified at lower levels and with increasing precision
O O HO
Flavor Authenticity depends: not only on having the correct molecules but also an appropriate delivery system and the correct dynamics of delivery
In 1990 Firmenich purchased the Californian company MCP They had an enviable reputation in organic chemistry but lacked the science base for understanding the new products acquired with this acquisition
A Case Study in Flavor Release
Control of flavor release was an important marketing claim but one which couldn’t be quantified in the most important situation….
….during the eating of food.
In 1996 at the University of Nottingham Prof. Andy Taylor and Dr. Rob Linforth developed a technique for real-time, in vivo analysis of flavor release from food and this allowed a new understanding of flavor dynamics and the effects which food structure and composition have on its perception.
AROMA sweet sour PROFILE bitter umami salty
Time (min) Normalised sucrose and menthone release Perceived Intensity Sucrose Release Menthone Release Time-Intensity Courtesy of J. Davidson & A J Taylor. The University of Nottingham
From Breslin et al Aroma-chology Review, vol. X n°2, pp14-17 (2002)
Almonds are not sweet
Mint leaves are bitter!
What do we taste each day that is minty and sweet? Our association of flavor and taste is learned.
What exactly is flavour ?
However, brains act in a holistic way...
… and we needed to get inside consumer’s heads
Magnetic Resonance Imaging
fMRI brain scans of people engaged in either hearing (blue) or silent lipreading (red). Common activity is shown yellow. From Calvert et al 1997.
The most plausible way to explain the inter-sensory effects we had observed is to conclude that ‘flavour’ is in fact a construct of the brain…….
.. and it is a learned response
> 80% of the input data is from breath from the mouth passing over the olfactory bulb in the nose, but what we see, how it feels, how it tastes, what we hear and our pleasure and satisfaction will all influence the way we remember it.
Flavour is a multi-sensory memory….. …….which depends on our personal experiences of eating and drinking…...
Conscious Touch Hearing Vision Propriosense Olfaction Taste All our senses play a part in flavor perception
Flavor Processing: more than the sum of its parts. Small, D., Jones-Gotman, M., Zatorre, M.P. and Evans, A.C. NeuroReport 8, pp (1997) Flavor processing is not represented by a simple convergence of its component senses….changes (seen with PET imaging) in the amygdala and basal forebrain suggest a role for these structures in processing novel or unpleasant stimuli.
Zampini, M. and C. Spence (2004 ). “The role of auditory cues in modulating the crispness and staleness in crisps.” Journal of Sensory Studies 19,
Flavor is Nature’s way of letting food and drink communicate with us… …it tells us whether we can swallow what is in our mouth or if we should spit it out.
…..and we start learning about flavor very early in our lives, several months before we are born.
This baby already has flavour preferences which started to develop seven months before it was born.
Electron micrograph showing the extent and complexity of connections between neurons in the human brain.
Length of connections in the brain cortex in micrometres Taken from “Consciousness” Rita Carter 2002.
At birth 3 months 15 months 2 years Development of dendritic connections between neurons
Girl left with half a brain is fluent in two languages The Daily Telegraph, May 23, 2002
The Importance of Associative Learning
One would be hard-pressed to find a developmental neurobiologist who does not agree that early experiences, especially between mother and infant, influence the pattern of brain connections in ways that fundamentally shape our future personality and mental health. Professor Mark Solms Chair of Neuropsychology University of Cape Town South Africa
Our brains do not have the capability to form conscious memories until after the age of two, but the development of the brain in those first two years will greatly affect future attitudes, prejudices and behavior: - this will include future preferences for foods, drinks and their flavors.
The liking of wintergreen flavour depends on nurture not nature
What does wintergreen remind you of ? Muscle-warming liniment or anti-septic ointment ?
Human beings like to experiment.
Monell Chemical Senses Laboratory Philadelphia Dr. Gary Beauchamp
Professor Leann Lipps Birch Center for Childhood Obesity Research
Prof. John Prescott James Cook University University of Cairns Australia Odor-Taste Interactions: Effects of Attentional Strategies during exposure. Prescott, J., Johnstone, V., Francis, J. Chemical Senses 29, pp , (2004)
Professor Fergus Lowe
Dr Martin Yeomans
Sutton Bonington Campus of the University of Nottingham
Reproduced from The making of culinary tradition in Japan” J.K. Cwiertka. 1999
Balut The Philippino Delicacy
In which category do you fit ?
There is much that we do not understand about the human brain; the way it determines which foods and flavours we like is just one of the areas open for study.
Flavour in food Edited by A Voilley, Université de Bourgogne and P Etievant, INRA, France Woodhead Publishing 2006