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Facoltā di Scienze Agrarie e Alimentari Universitā degli Studi di Milano
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Models of sensory perception and food consumer science.
Code: G-026-
Teacher:  Antonella Pagliarini
Year:   
Term: 
CFU: 
CFU subdivision: Lectures: 4
Basic aims:  Sensory analysis appear to be a valuable tool for: the
evaluation of new product formulation, the preference-acceptability of new product formulation, the optimization and maintenance of the product characteristics and to define the consumers' expectations.
Sensory analysis is useful to understand the factors that influence the consumers' preferences and to develop the most worthwhile product for the consumer.
In order to provide nutritionally balanced food, the evaluation of sensory characteristics must be carefully evaluated, especially for products destined to special diets (obese and overweight individuals, elderly celiacs, diabetics, etc..) and catering (company , schools , hospital...).
Acquired skills:  A suitable knowledge is supplied to make descriptive and affective product evaluation with qualitative methods (focus groups) and quantitative methods of preference-acceptability for the evaluation of consumer behavior; to processing statistical data to work with the company's marketing division in the market research, with the catering company and with canteens of hospitals, schools and nursing homes for the elderly (RSA).
Course contents:  The role of the food, the individual and the environment - Recent developments in the consumer's science : the physiological, sensory, psychological and socio-economic factors that influence food choices - The mind: how the brain processes sensory information (analytical and affective) - Choice models and measurement methods - Descriptive food profiles - Focus groups - Traditional approach to preference and acceptability studies: experimental design and statistical analysis of the results with practical exercises - Preference maps, correlation between sensory evaluation and preference to optimize food product with practical exercises - Build up products for specific age group - Correlation between sensory evaluation and marketing: sensory evaluations combined with consumer studies
Program:  The main aim is to provide students with the most suitable tools to define guidelines to evaluate new product formulation and the preference-acceptability of new product formulation, to optimize and to maintain the product characteristics and to define the consumers' expectations.
Through the application of sensory analysis it is possible to understand the factors that influence the consumers' preferences and to develop the most worthwhile product for the consumer.
The aim of this course is to explain: the physiology and psychology principles of sensory methods, the influence of sensory factors (aging, memory and attitude neophobia, etc..) on choices and consumer behavior; ensuring the food safety and quality; to familiarize students with the descriptive and affective methods with qualitative methods (focus group) and quantitative methods of preference-acceptability for the evaluation of consumer behavior; and to process the statistical data.

The program credits are:
a) The role of the food, the individual and the environment (0.25 CFU)
b) Recent developments in the consumer's science : the physiological, sensory, psychological and socio-economic factors that influence food choices (0.5 credits)
c) The mind: how the brain processes sensory information (analytical and affective) (0.25 CFU)
d) Choice models and measurement methods (0.25 CFU)
e) Descriptive food profiles (0.25 credits)
f) Focus groups (0.25 CFU)
g) Traditional approach to preference and acceptability studies: experimental design and statistical analysis of the results (0.5 ECTS) with practical exercises (0.5 CFU)
h) Preference maps, correlation between sensory evaluation and preference to optimize food product (0.5 ECTS) with practical exercices (0.25)
i) Build up products for specific age group (0.25 CFU)
l) Correlation between sensory evaluation and marketing: sensory evaluations combined with consumer studies (0.25CFU)
Prerequisites:  Statistics
Preparatory instructions:  It is recommended the course "Food Sensory Evaluation "
Learning materials:  E. Pagliarini, Valutazione sensoriale: Aspetti teorici, pratici e metodologici, Hoepli, Milano, 2002
Altri testi consigliati: Consumer-led food product development, Ed. Hal MacFie, CRC Press, 2007 -
H.T. Lawless, H. Heymann, Sensory evaluation of food: principles and practices, Chapman & Hall, New York, NY, 1998
Other info:  The exam includes a written test including one open-ended and a number of closed-ended questions.
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Program of Models of sensory perception and food consumer science. (pdf version)
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