Authors: Lars Mogren *, Gun Hagström, Halina Agerhem, Jenny Arnér
Taste has been a low prioritized quality aspect of vegetables for a long time. Primary emphasis has been on visual properties and storage potential. Despite its importance to consumers, the flavour aspect of quality is commonly overlooked. There is a lack of consensus vocabulary to communicate flavour quality within the supply chain as well as to consumers. 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 this pilot project was to examine the flavour and aroma characteristics of cultivars of carrot, cabbage and onion. Secondly we have investigated 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. The samples were cooked using sous vide technique, which is commonly used in restaurant kitchens. The results show significant variations in characteristics such as sweetness, nuttiness, perfuminess and fruitiness in cultivars of carrot and within bitterness, freshness, and 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 common perceptions by the panel on the sensory attributes implies that there is a potential for developing a sensory vocabulary for these vegetables.