Functional Foods Forum Turns 15 – Interplay of Senses Explored in Seminar

​The first talk of the evening was given by Associate Professor Mari Sandell, who gave an overview of the Forum’s research on senses, food perception, and eating behaviour. Over the course of 15 years, FFF has been involved in various international research projects, has collaborated with different companies on commissions, and has even compiled a “five-dimensional” cookbook, for example.

The Functional Foods Forum consists of several smaller teams from Seinäjoki to Turku that work in close co-operation with each other and outside partners. The existing laboratories and facilities are complemented by the latest development project, Flavoria, a lunch restaurant and cafeteria that serves as a new kind of research platform for studying consumer experience. It is located in Medisiina D, a new multi-user building on the Turku campus. Alongside the more conventional restaurant space, a “living lab” called Aistikattila will open in the facility early next year.

Research Coordinator Laura Forsman presented the findings of a study that explored how Finns sense their home country. The study found certain sensory experiences that a large number of Finnish people share. For instance, when asked to think of a Finnish landscape, roughly half of the respondents envisioned a lake scene. Such a large number of people agreeing upon the significance of a visual stimulus is rather remarkable. According to the study, other decidedly Finnish sensations include the taste of rye bread, the smell of the forest, the feeling of snow, and the sound of birdsong.

Mathematician and musician Bruno Mesz, representing the Argentinian Muntref Centro de Arte y Ciencia, discussed a study of the interplay of sounds and taste. In the study, people listened to music while tasting wine. It was discovered that hearing staccato notes in a classical music piece is subconsciously connected to tasting saltiness, for instance. The study, and other independently conducted experiments by other research groups, support the conclusion that sounds and visual stimuli can sometimes be sensed by taste.

Per Samuelsson
and Iréne Sahlin are Swedish composers and sound designers whose projects combine sounds and movement to tastes and smells, as evidenced by their performances at the seminar. First the audience was served a welcome mocktail, Cosmopolitan with a Sonic Twist, whose taste profile was enhanced by the accompanying handcrafted musical background. Lastly, Samuelsson, Sahlin, choreographer Maria Zegna and Professor Anu Hopia performed a piece utilising music, voice, sounds, smells, and dance, centred on the theme of the river that flows through Turku.

As evidenced by the seminar’s wide range of topics, research findings on the interplay of senses can be utilised in various fields; by food businesses, in improving people’s everyday lives, and in art projects.

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Published date 11/5/2018 12:50 AM ,  Modified date 11/5/2018 12:59 PM

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