Flavor Odyssey has four parts:
Flavor Description System
By using scales to overcome the problem of benchmarking flavor descriptions, we have created a unique flavor description mechanism that allows people to accurately describe what they are tasting. With 6 scales (system described below), users are able to plot their perception of each flavor accurately as opposed to struggling to find the right vocabulary to voice their opinion. This not only overcomes a serious communication barrier around verbalizing abstract taste, but also transcends language barriers and allows us to get a much more nuanced understanding of flavor perception.
Using the same input mechanism, we can plot each flavor in a graphical sense, translating the abstract concept of taste into a tangible (3-D printed) shape that can be held in ones' hand. This has the profound effect of visually seeing the difference in the way each person tastes, but also of viewing aggregate data around perception of flavor across a group.
Understanding Consumer Perception of Flavor
Based on their location and cultural influences, each person may think of a different specific taste when asked to describe something as seemingly ubiquitous as "strawberry". In an effort to better understand these differences, we have started benchmarking 20 commonly known flavors across multiple populations to gather insights about what impacts perception of flavor. By collecting data from various populations, we will develop an understanding of consumer perception of flavor, which will then help people in the food industry develop and describe their products more effectively.
Predictive Modeling of Flavor Balance
Using the data we collect from consumers around taste perception, we aim to use our visualization mechanism to predict balance in food composition. This has implications in the food industry and in cooking. With our system, we will be able to describe balance of flavor and pairing, encouraging creativity in flavor combinations and creating a predictive system to model the way different ingredients would work with each other.