An adventurous training on the way to professional tasting

The Taste Expedition is an in-company training developed by Essensor with the goal to bring reliability and validity of decisions from daily tasting sessions on a higher professional level

One-day (7 hour) training as a single session

Number of participants around 15

At your location, an off-site venue or in one of our research facilities


The training

During tasting sessions do these situations look familiar?

  • When describing sensory characteristics of a product someone ranking high in function or product knowledge, gives an opinion. Then suddenly everyone else’s opinions are gone.

  • Participants agree that a product is good. Does ‘good’ mean pleasant or according to specs?

  • Discussing with colleagues or a client what a product should taste like, do you wonder whether the words you use have similar meanings?

If this looks familiar, you (your team) should go on the Taste Expedition!



How well do your senses work?

A taste-test and an odour-test are administered at the start of the Taste Expedition. These tests provide clear indications of participants’ abilities to taste and smell

Can we trust our senses?

Bringing process, execution and decision making of tasting sessions on a high level of validity can be achieved by profound understanding of how human senses work together. Knowledge on this subject is crucial to guarantee reliable decisions during daily tasting sessions. This is supported with practical and interactive examples

Are there ‘Best Practice rules’ for tasting sessions?

After experiencing and understanding how our senses work but also how they can fool us, participants learn how to optimise the procedures of preparing, running and sharing results of tasting sessions. In this Best Practice part of the training subjects such as product handling, testing protocols, dos and don’ts of testing and basic communication rules are explained

When we talk about taste, do we speak the same language?

The focus during this part of the training is on learning to describe sensory characteristics of (your) products and on developing a common language with unambiguous meaning

About the expedition leaders

Ton Teerling

Taste and Smell Psychologist

Ton graduated from the University of Amsterdam under Prof. Nico Frida (Chair in the psychology of emotions) and subsequently worked at the Utrecht University with Prof. Ep Köster (Chair in the psychology of taste and smell) studying the effect of odours on human emotions ad behaviour. During the following 20 years Ton held several positions as Manager Sensory and Consumer Insights in the flavour & fragrance industry. Within Essensor Ton worked with Wim on the development of the Taste Expedition. Ton is also lecturer in applied psychology.

Wim Vaessen

Research Director

As Essensor founder and research director Wim has been designing, running and leading different types of sensory projects for many years. Product tests on behalf of retailers, sensory analyses and preference mapping are examples. Also, high tech methods for measuring consumer choice behaviour such as virtual shopping and eye tracking are part of Wim’s experience. This is all reflected in Wim’s in-company trainings and guest lectures. Also Wim is lecturer at MOA’s “Proeven van Succes” course for professional sensory researchers.

Joleen Boland

Consumer & Sensory Insight Expert

Joleen Boland completed her Master’s degree at Wageningen University & Research. Since then, she has been active within Essensor as Consumer & Sensory Insight Expert. In her role, she is active both in projects around consumers and associated choice behaviours, as well as projects around sensory-based objective descriptions. The combination of both research methods makes her an all-rounder within the Taste Expedition.

Alard Verhoef

Senior Consumer & Sensory Insight Expert

Alard Verhoef completed his Sensory Science degree in 2012 (Wageningen University & Research and Copenhagen University) and has been working in the sensory field at Essensor on a daily basis ever since. Within his role, he works for a variety of customers and with a variety of products. He has made it his speciality to work on sensory panels, the panels dedicated to accurate and objective product description. His efforts have included setting up a good quality measurement system of panel data.

Mirjam van Mourik

Senior Consumer & Sensory Insight Expert

Mirjam van Mourik beschikt over 21 jaar ervaring in sensorisch onderzoek. Eerst binnen OP&P onder leiding van de pionier in het Nederlandse sensorische vakgebied: Pieter Punter. Sinds de overname van OP&P door Essensor werkt Mirjam in de rol van Senior Consumer & Sensory Insights Expert. In die hoedanigheid werkt zij aan vele sensorische en consumenten-onderzoeksprojecten voor de Nederlandse en Europese markt. Met haar brede blik en ruime ervaring brengt zij veel vakkennis mee in deze expeditie.

The Taste Expedition is always run by two expedition leaders. The dynamics this creates contribute to the active involvement of the participants and the accessibility of the teaching material.


Who should attend?

The Taste Expedition is for everyone who participates in internal tasting sessions or who is responsible for planning and running such sessions. Ultimately the Taste Expedition is a must for everyone who has an interest in the reliability of tasting sessions and its conclusions

Frequently asked questions

What is the ideal number of participants?

A group size of around 15 works best.

Can I configure parts of the Taste Expedition?

Yes. Knowledge levels of participants and interests for specific subjects are considered when tailoring the Expedition. Possible adaptations are discussed extensively before the content is determined. Certain subjects can get more attention and topics of special interest for your organisation can be added.


Is there follow-up part?

The Taste Expedition is the basic training. In the follow-up training participants learn how to understand and appreciate procedures and conclusions from consumer research reports. Current internal sensory test procedures in your own organisation are examined. Quality of briefing clients or research agencies is also part of the Follow-up Expedition.

What does the Taste Expedition bring me?

– Reliability of daily decisions

– Effective guidance for Product Development

– Sharpening of QC-procedures

– Shared understanding of ‘the language of taste’

– Fun

What are the costs of a Taste Expedition?

That depends on the choice of location and on the number of participants. The end total will be modest in comparison with other trainings. And the price quality ratio is most favourable.

Where does the Taste Expedition take place?

At your location, an off-site venue or in one of our research facilities. A separate room for preparing products that will be presented during the training is required.


Who preceded you?

  • Assessing your products properly so that the right decisions can be made is not so easy. The Smaakexpedition got us well on our way in this with an exciting and varied workshop. Both teachers conveyed their knowledge in an enthusiastic and passionate way. The day included many practical examples to make the theory clear and to experience it for ourselves. There was also enough space to discuss your own experiences. In short, a fun, instructive and useful day!

    - Linda Mulder, Zeelandia
  • Incredibly fun day and time well spent. For many colleagues, it was a revelation to realise how easily our senses lead us astray, something you definitely don’t want to influence important decisions. As a company that has yet to give sensory work hands-on, it is very important to get it right from the start. This course contains everything you need to know to get started on that right away and to do it in the right way.

    - Rui-Paula Cunha, Meatable


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