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New Sensory Food Network Launched to support Irish Food Companies

Sensory food science is the study of how we as consumers perceive foods with each of our senses. The importance of a scientifically sound approach to the sensory evaluation of food has received increasing recognition by the food industry in Ireland.

A new network of excellence in sensory food science, ‘Sensory Food Network Ireland’ was officially launched, today, Wednesday, April 29th by Mr Tom Hayes, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM). The launch took place at an event at the Teagasc Food Research Centre in Dublin.

Sensory Food Network Ireland has been established to promote the integration of sensory science activities on the island of Ireland and includes ten leading institutions with expertise in sensory science. This sensory network will become an integral part of the food and beverage industry, in supporting new product development by providing services such as product matching, consumer acceptance and flavour chemistry.

Speaking at the event Minister Hayes said: “This investment in research by my Department through the Food Institutional Research Measure (FIRM) will strengthen and integrate the current expertise in sensory food science in Ireland and provide a platform that will better address the needs of the food industry in terms of the development of new products tailored to customer requirements in new and existing markets. This will assist in meeting our ambitions for the agri-food sector”.

Achieving the potential for growth within the Irish food industry requires a two-way partnership between the scientific community and the food industry. Facilitating this partnership, as well as delivering comprehensive and excellent sensory science services are key elements of the network’s vision.

Dr Eimear Gallagher, Teagasc Food Researcher, who is the lead co-ordinator of the network, also emphasised the need to communicate with food companies: “The network is proactively seeking interaction with industry and other research institutes to grow and develop the field of sensory science on the island of Ireland”.