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Arnér, Jenny, 2021. Searching for a sensory vocabulary for Swedish vegetables : an exploratory study of the flavour and aroma characteristics of carrot, cabbage and onion. Second cycle, A2E. Alnarp: SLU, Dept. of Plant Protection Biology

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Flavour is an important aspect in the consumption of fruits and vegetables. However, the current
regulatory context within EU for the quality of fruit and vegetables involve standards that lay
primary emphasis on visual properties but limited focus on flavour and nutrition.
Despite its importance to consumers, the flavour aspect of quality is commonly overlooked. The
limited availability and use of a vocabulary hinder a consensus concerning flavour quality within
the supply chain as well as to consumers. The present thesis presents the outcomes of the project A
culinary roadmap to Swedish vegetables. The project was initiated by top chef Daniel Berlin by
reason of his experienced challenges to find exceptional and consistent flavour quality in local
horticultural products and communicating this aspect of quality with colleagues and suppliers.
A sensory language for fruits and vegetables could be a helpful tool to describe flavour variations.
By identifying variations in flavour, the chance to attain customer satisfaction as well as contribute
to a consensus within the supply chain may be increased.

The main objectives of the present thesis were to a) examine the flavour and aroma characteristics
of cultivars of vegetables which are commonly used in restaurant cuisines, being carrot, cabbage
and onion and b) investigate whether consensus can be obtained by a sensory panel with limited
training, on the characteristics of the chosen vegetables. Achieving consensus indicates that the
perceptions by the panel could act as a guidance of the sensory descriptions. Using a descriptive
sensory method, the characteristics and differences in flavour and aroma of heat-treated varieties of
carrot, cabbage and onion were examined. Previous studies indicate that the genetic material is one
of the most decisive factors for sensory characteristics, which motivated the current study to explore
the differences between varieties of vegetables.

The samples were cooked through sous vide technique, which is commonly used in restaurant
kitchens. Cooking instructions were given by a chef at the restaurant of Daniel Berlin. This study
demonstrated that the chosen method was successful in generating sensory attributes describing
flavour and aroma. The results show significant variations in characteristics such as sweetness,
nuttiness, perfuminess and fruitiness in cultivars of carrot and within bitterness, freshness, fruitiness
in the cultivars of cabbage. Between onion cultivars prominent variations appeared within the
characteristics of sweetness, bitterness, freshness, pungency, sulfurous flavour and aftertaste. The
key outcome of the study is that significant variations within a part of the attributes in the evaluation
was found. This in turn suggests that the perceptions within the panel were partly similar, which in
turn implies that a partly consensus was achieved. The common perceptions by the panel on the
sensory attributes implies that there is potential for developing a sensory vocabulary for these

Main title:Searching for a sensory vocabulary for Swedish vegetables
Subtitle:an exploratory study of the flavour and aroma characteristics of carrot, cabbage and onion
Authors:Arnér, Jenny
Supervisor:Mogren, Lars and Agerheim, Halina
Examiner:Hultberg, Malin
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2021
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:LY003 Horticultural Science Programme 300 HEC
Supervising department:(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Plant Protection Biology
Keywords:sensory, flavour, quality, vegetable, descriptive, analysis, QDA, vocabulary, marketing, carrot, cabbage, onion, horticulture
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Crop husbandry
Food composition
Deposited On:20 Sep 2021 07:08
Metadata Last Modified:21 Sep 2021 04:02

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