Whitepaper: Application of aroma release monitoring in real time as a powerful tool to understand consumer perception
Aroma is one of the key determinants of flavour perception and therefore one of the main factors driving consumer preferences. This is the reason why the analysis of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) has become a major topic for food industry. Indeed, a huge variety of analytical techniques have been developed to isolate and determine the concentration of VOCs in food.
Moreover, headspace techniques have been applied to understand the effect of food components (proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, polyphenols, etc) on the volatility of aroma compounds. These interactions can modify the release of VOCs from the food matrix and affect the aromatic balance of the final product. However, these techniques cannot totally recreate the consumption experience, and thus correlation with sensory has traditionally proved difficult.
Hence, to understand the rate of VOCs reaching the olfactory receptors during consumption (and therefore taking into account the physiological factors involved in the consumption procedure), new technologies such as proton transfer reaction mass spectrometry (PTR-MS) allow the real time monitoring of VOCs directly from the human nose (nose-space analysis). Consequently, these techniques take into account both, food and consumers, and therefore are becoming key techniques to better understand the consumer experience. The aim of this document is to review the available techniques to measure food aroma, especially focusing on the most innovative methodologies to measure aroma release during consumption. This information is critical for the industry to characterise and optimise the aroma of its product portfolio.