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T@sty™: a new device to assess taste sensitivity

Device for evaluating the orosensory perception by a subject; T@sty is a trademark and a patented technology.

New device for evaluating sensitivity to flavors. © INRA
By Franck Le Guerhier (33 (0) 1 4275 9285)
Updated on 02/20/2018
Published on 02/20/2018

Description of the innovation

Assessment of taste sensitivity usually consists in determining, for one or several sapid compounds, the lowest concentration perceived by a subject or a group of subjects (detection threshold). This type of measure is frequently carried out to identify gustative disorders or to evaluate human gustatory capabilities (sensory analysis, consumer science, medical field). However, global knowledge about taste sensitivity is fragmentary and the diversity of procedures and stimuli used do not allow compiling available datasets.

The device

The patented device is based on evaluation kits notably designed for in-home assessments (letter format, sent by post). Subjects can perform the test at home, without the presence of an experimenter, and then give their answers on an on-line questionnaire. Results are expressed as a percentage reflecting, for each taste, the sensitivity compared to a reference population (e.g. for salty taste, your sensitivity is better than that of 71% of the population). Data about the reference population are currently being acquired (2016-2017). As a first step, this data will refer to the French population, but it may be extended afterwards to other countries. Compared to the existing tests, the main advantages of the T@sty™ device are the possibility to assess taste sensitivity remotely, without the presence of an experimenter, and the possibility to produce individual taste sensitivity profiles based on the comparison with normative data. Eurosense 2016: 7th European Conference on Sensory and Consumer Research, September 11-14, 2016, Dijon, France.

INRA Transfert, a subsidiary of INRA, is seeking an industrial partner in order to develop, produce and market the patented (WO2015/165880) technology and the T@sty™ mark through a license agreement.

Licensing-out officer: Franck LE GUERHIER, PhD, Inra Transfert:
Franck Le Guerhier (+33 1 42 75 92 85)

Find out more

  • Technical specifications: format 11x16 cm, test-sheets entirely edible (wafer paper, food-grade ink), precut discs removable.
  • Principle: only one taste per test sheet; for each test sheet there are 6 series of 3 discs (1 “tasty” disc and 2 neutral discs). Top-down increasing intensity (symbolized by the red color).
  • “Taste samples from left to right. Which sample is different from the other two?”
  • Results expressed as a percentage reflecting sensitivity compared to a reference population (e.g. for salty taste, your sensitivity is better than that of 71% of the population).