The appreciation of food, a four-year research project of Kikkoman and TNO

19 May 2016

TNO and Kikkoman Europe R&D Laboratory B.V. recently started a research project aimed at better understanding of neurophysiological processes related to food appreciation. Because food appreciation is determined by a multitude of factors, taste experience is a complicated concept to capture and quantify.

Kikkoman is interested to learn more about individual differences in food preferences and whether such differences can be assessed using psychophysiological techniques like neuroimaging and quantification of reflexes. Moreover, the contribution of aspects like environment, social setting, presentation, cultural background in food appreciation will be subject of study. TNO combines expertise on Perceptual & Cognitive Systems and Nutrition & Systems Biology in this project,  and a researcher from Kikkoman is joining the multidisciplinary team for four years. This will provide the opportunity for Kikkoman to further develop their European research infrastructure and networks, what might be reflected in the participation of Kikkoman in national and European research consortia in the future.

Dr. Asahi Matsuyama of Kikkoman Corporation R&D, which is worldwide the largest producer of soy sauce, explains that he is very content with this collaboration and that he has high expectations of the findings that this project will bring to Kikkoman. “The factors behind why consumers appreciate soy sauce are largely unknown, yet the product is used in many dishes worldwide. We are excited to engage with TNO in starting to unravel this complex topic”. Dr. Niek Snoeij, Managing Director of TNO Healthy Living says he looks forward to working together with the Kikkoman Corporation as research partner for studying consumer liking and behaviour. “This collaboration again emphasizes the need to approach research questions from a multidisciplinary perspective, in which TNO has a global reputation”.

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