Approaching 100 years of sensory and consumer science: Developments and ongoing issues

H. L. Meiselman, S. R. Jaeger, B. T. Carr, A. Churchill

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
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With input from oral keynote and plenary presentations at the 14th Pangborn Sensory Science Symposium in 2021, a historical timeline and selective summary of sensory and consumer science is presented. The development of the field is traced to the present time across three time periods: Period 1) an early period spanning from the 1940s to the 1970s focused on sensory evaluation; Period 2) the 1980s and 1990s, which saw the further development of sensory science, the growth of a connection with consumer research, and a rapid expansion of the topics that interested the field; and Period 3) from the 2000s onwards, with the emergence of new technologies and the movement beyond a dependence on liking in the study of products. Across periods, 18 topic areas were selected: 1) hedonics and food acceptance, 2) discrimination testing, 3) chemical senses, psychophysics and scaling, 4) descriptive profiling by trained assessors, 5) temporal methods, 6) sensory drivers of liking, 7) rapid methods, 8) contextual factors, 9) health, 10) the young and the elderly, 11) cross-cultural research, 12) psychographics, 13) expectations, 14) extrinsic product factors, 15) emotions, 16) “beyond liking” and sub-conscious measures, 17) wellbeing, and 18) social media and big data. Loosely, the topic areas are presented in “period chronological order” with topics starting earlier in the timeline of Sensory-Consumer Science being presented first. Throughout its existence, the field of Sensory-Consumer Science has been characterized by a combination of more basic academic research and more applied commercial research, with much of the method development pushed by the need to describe, differentiate and develop products, and then to research the effects of those products on consumers. The field has also been characterized by an emphasis on quantitative approaches. The paper concludes with a presentation of several continuing and emerging issues within Sensory-Consumer Science.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104614
Pages (from-to)1-15
Number of pages15
JournalFood Quality and Preference
Early online date22 Apr 2022
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2022


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