Research Group (DQAN QS) - Sensory, instrumental and statistical techniques in order to understand and to predict the consumers’ choices.
The research group aims at developing and applying innovative and multidisciplinary methods for the investigation of food in order to understand and predict consumers’ choices.
The methodological approach foresees
- the objective evaluation of products' perceptible characteristics by sensory and instrumental methods;
- the investigation of consumers’ responses and of perceptive and cognitive processes underlying the multisensory consumer-product interaction;
- the correlation of sensory and consumer data with instrumental food characterisation.
Beyond its fundamental relevance, the research activity supports the development of new products and production processes and the valorisation and preservation of typical products.
The group has significant expertise in the field of sensory analysis (analytic methods with trained panels and consumer tests) and of innovative instrumental techniques for the investigation of food quality aspects related to sensory perception, such as the analysis of volatile organic compounds responsible of odour and flavour or the assessment of physical-mechanical characteristics related to texture or appearance.
The expertise in the fields of multisensory perception and of consumer science make it possible to investigate the cognitive and perceptual dynamics underlying individual responses to better measure and understand the drivers of consumer choices.
Within the group advanced multivariate modelling techniques enabling correlation of sensory data (from both trained panel and consumer panel) and instrumental data is of fundamental interest. The integration of these techniques, firstly allows the study of the link between the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of agro-industrial products and their sensory peculiarities, secondly, allows the identification of (rapid) markers for an instrumental control of sensory quality and finally allows for the investigation of the fundamental physiological processes related to the perception of sensory stimuli.
Our activity is focused on the evaluation of "perceived" quality by an integrated sensory/instrumental methodology based on:
- Panel tests (sensory lab* and FEM trained panel)
- Consumer tests
- Behavioral experiments
Instrumental methods for VOCs detection (related to odor and flavor)
- Static or semi-static methods (SPME-GC/MS)
- Dynamic methods (PTR-MS, PTR-TOF-MS)**
Instrumental methods for physical-mechanical parameters
- Texture analyzer with acoustic detector
- Colorimeter and image analyzer
Advanced data analysis
- Standard and advanced statistics
- Data mining methods
* a brand new lab will be available starting from the Summer 2012
** in collaboration with Volatile Organic Technological Platform