Nestlé Scientists Bring New Breadth to the Refreshing Sensation

To other newsDec 4, 2007

Lausanne, Switzerland

In a recent edition of Food Quality and Preference, scientists from the Nestlé Research Center (NRC), Switzerland, define specific sensory characteristics of the in-mouth refreshing sensation, adding a new breadth of scientific understanding around pleasurable taste and consumer preference. The full contribution is available on the Journal Description.

The sensation of refreshment is a multi-dimensional result of the interlink among several factors: senses (vision, taste, olfaction), physiological states (thirst, feeling hot), food experience, preference, and consumption context (location, occasion).

Nestlé researchers performed a study with consumers to better understand the key sensory qualities driving refreshment. Study subjects, 160 consumers, were given a set of tasting samples with varied flavourings (peach and mint), cooling properties, texture and acidity, and were asked to rate the overall refreshment capabilities of each. Additionally, a panel of sensory experts evaluated the sensory properties of the same samples to determine the contribution of sensory characteristics to the refreshing scores denoted by consumers.

A majority of consumers agreed that the sweetest-tasting samples were the least refreshing, while the most-refreshing samples were associated with the sensory characteristics of a high cold/mint feeling, intense sourness and low viscosity.

Food habits may be partially responsible for the diversity of sensory characteristics associated with refreshment. "The combined mint aroma and cold sensation is similar to the in-mouth experience of consuming breath freshening mints or chewing gum and may lead to a subsequent sensation of refreshment," said David Labbe, Nestlé Research Center scientist heading the study.

The Nestlé Research Center findings can potentially be used by Nestlé to provide consumers with new products in confectionary, ice cream and beverage categories to deliver increased refreshment and pleasure.

“By developing the science to understand and apply the perception of refreshment, we can develop products that not only demonstrate health benefits but also lead to a pleasurable experience for consumers,” said Nathalie Martin, head of the NRC sensory science group.

Article reference:

David Labbe, Florie Gilbert, Nicolas Antille and Nathalie Martin. Sensory determinants of refreshing. Food Quality and Preference. 2007 (published online October 2007)

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For media information, please contact:

Nestlé R&D Media Relations
Nestlé Corporate Headquarters, Vevey, Switzerland