September 26, 2013

Electronic nose and tongue: Expanding pet food flavor analysis

The two-bowl test is the traditional way to assess the palatability of pet food products. While there’s still no replacement for this tried-and-true approach using pets, instrumental techniques have come a long way in adding depth to palatability testing. Since 2007, AFB International has been using “electronic nose” and “electronic tongue” technology to help analyze the overall smell and taste of pet foods.

These two instruments, together known as ENT, were first used in the human food, medical, pharmaceutical and environmental industries to analyze, classify and compare products with complex make-up. Although they don’t give a breakdown of specific components in a sample, they can provide overall patterns and trends to complement traditional sensory test techniques.

Once our researchers obtain final outputs from the separate electronic nose and electronic tongue instruments, they can combine the two to merge the “smell” and “taste” aspects of a product, much like an animal experiences when eating. AFB uses the technology for both new palatant development and to help ensure consistent flavor and pet food performance, sharing findings and best practices with pet food companies and at professional events like the Petfood Forum.

Learn more about these cutting-edge tools by downloading our free white paper, Instrumental Techniques in Pet Food Flavor Analysis—Electronic Nose and Electronic Tongue (ENT).