Our Blog

Pangborn Symposium 2019 - Reflections

One of the largest international Sensory Science events, the 13th Pangborn brought together industry and academic leaders and subject matter experts to present their insights and perspectives on how sensory science will evolve and how innovative research and scientific learning will impact this journey. The event had over 1100 delegates.


Pangborn Symposium 2019 - ReflectionsEdinburgh,Scotland, one of the most fascinating cities in Europe, was the right place for the 2019 Pangborn organizing committees to provide at the opening of the event the connections:sensory, emotional and cultural through the sounds of bagpipes that moved from the entrance to the auditorium and accompanied the formation of the organizers into the stage. The sounds, the vibrations, the images stirred our imagination, filled us with emotion, prepared our soul, our spirit and our senses where they should be, elevated and tuned to this special event.


From the very begining a broad and deep reflection has triggered our minds when one of the hosts presented the best and oldest universities in the UK:Oxford 1096 and Cambridge 1209 and some in Scotland:St. Andrews 1412, Glasgow 1451, Aberdeen 1494, Edinburgh 1583. The reflection goes through how much knowledge, through the value attributed to the researches has been developed, systematized, disseminated along the centuries of existence of these universities. And how much these components have been gradually over the centuries impregnated in culture in the values of this civilization. This was another ingredient that fit and molded very well in the formula for the sensory science symposium.


The Symposium provided us with a multidisciplinary perspective of what currently touches the sensory sciences. The need to be aware of developments in the areas of neuroscience, virtual reality, artificial intelligence, big data, social media and the possible intersections , complements between these various areas of knowledge in order to evolve in the delivery of services of sensory and consumer science.


Although from time to time mankind will seek to re-issue past experiences in order to develop solutions for the present, it is common at certain times for certain disciplines, certain methodologies, certain processes to become more prominent, while others for some time decrease their glamor and their applications. Thus the symposium also sought to research and substantiate which methodologies have been used the most over the past years, having as reference previous editions of Pangborn. Next a short summary:

  • 2013 – Ideal Profiling Methods
  • 2015 – Napping – Preference Mapping
  • 2017 – Immersive Experience – Temporal Method – Sugar Reduction – Food Neophobia
  • 2019 – Machine Assisted Learning


Pangborn Symposium 2019 - ReflectionsIt was very good to see in a symposium of this magnitude the recognition of the urgent need for conciliating and bridging between the sensory sciences and business objectives.

Experts in sensory sciences have reasonable consensus that possible deliverables from the sensory sciences add value to the business. This consensus, however, does not exist among most business leaders, those leaders who decide to allocate resources to achieve business objectives. There is still a significant layer of business leaders who are unaware of the potential and applications of sensory science. Merging business and sensory scienceis a significant challenge which in this Pangborn 2019 has been loudly spoken. The challenge has been launched!


Gratitude is part of the most elevated human sentiments. It was touching to witness how in this edition of Pangborn, the recognition of recent and special contributors to the development of sensory sciences, were highlighted.

In the category of researchers of the future, the names remembered were:

  • 2011 – Gaston Ares
  • 2013 – John Ennis
  • 2015 – John Hayes
  • 2017 – Betina Piqueras-Fiszman
  • 2019 – Sara Spinelli was elected

In the category of established researchers the names remembered were:

  • 2011 – Harry Lawless
  • 2013 – Hely Tuorila
  • 2015 – Hildegarde Heymann
  • 2017 – Sylvie Issanchou
  • 2019 – Hal MacFie recognized

By being invited to perform, Hal MacFie reciprocated the acknowledgment with gratitude by acknowledging other major contributors within his presentation, “Unfinished Business and a Couple of Tips” which recalled the achievements of his work.

Allow me also to share the names recognized by Hal MacFie:

  • Pascal Schilch
  • Mike O’Mahony
  • David Thomson
  • Sara Jaeger
  • Herb Meiselman
  • Anne Hasted

At the end of the event there was a special tribute to, a professional whose contributions are recognized in various dimensions of sensory science applications;

  • David Lyon!


NASA, National Aeronautics and Space Administration delivered a presentation that is in the cutting edge dimension of sensory developments: feeding astronauts on space missions.

The title of the presentation already sets the tone:

“Sensory Challenges in the Final Frontier – Developing Space Exploration Food Systems”.

Thinking about space missions is not part of a normal citizen everyday life, so, during the NASA presentation, aspects that sounded obvious when we “dive into this universe” go unnoticed in our day to day routine. Just as an illustration, next are some intriguing topics related to the challenges facing the teams involved into food preparation for the astronauts:

  • Food must be safe, nutritious and acceptable
  • Food must promote health and performance
  • The food system must fit the resources and space of the missions
  • The system must be a closed loop
  • Food must be stable and withstand many years of storage without refrigeration, without cooking, without washing or reusing containers and with minimal use of water
  • Sensory assessments are limited to pre-missions
  • Fluids move in microgravity
  • Aromas dissipate into microgravity
  • Upcoming manned missions will require 5 years of shelf life, no technology available yet (currently there is technology for 2 or 3 years of shelf life)
  • Confinement and stress
  • Astronauts are human beings … they have their own preferences!


NASA urges us to think about how much room there is to develop within the support spectrum of the sensory sciences, not only in the food dimension, but in all others that touch human beings and how far developments may be here on our planet Earth where we insist on wasting resources, may be because our “cabin” is a little bigger than a spaceship and so we have the false impression of abundance.

Research is what we are all involved in, I say we, possibly because everyone who is reading these reflections is involved in research. It is reasonable to think that countries that have valued study and its universities for centuries are at a more advanced stage in recognizing the value of research. This leaves some open questions for reflection:

  • How can we in Brazil contribute more to the development of the country, our companies, our universities through serious research?
  • What are the opportunities that have already passed and were not appropriated by us and what are the opportunities available in line with the current needs ? Are we alert? Are we aligned?
  • Do business leaders in Brazil understand and acknowledge the value of sensory-focused research in achieving their business goals?
  • What kind of collaboration should there be among the different actors in the sensory sciences, academia, research institutes, industries, in order to build multidisciplinary solutions?
  • When will we have Brazilians joining the select group of honorees? What do we miss? What is our plan?
  • How to put more joy in our daily work?
  • How to promote the highest results impact ?
  • How can we be protagonists of our own future?

There are many deliberations that are intimate, there are many potentialities in Brazil, there are many resources in Brazil, but there is also a lot of waste, a lot of misallocation of resources, little collaboration, little sense for driving collective goals.

Serenity, Collaboration, Gratitude, Positivity, is what I have read about the main elements in the unlikely rescue of the boys trapped in the Thai cave.
Brazil with over 200 million inhabitants, economy, business, universities, politics, culture, environment in a time of difficulty, what are the opportunities to do the unlikely, the unthinkable?

Protagonism, common goals, Serenity, Collaboration, Gratitude and Positivity.

Comments ( 0 )

    Leave A Comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *