Conclusions

The consumer, acting as the ultimate sensory evaluator, is the final judge of the quality of any food. In this capacity, seafood flavor plays a central role in the evaluation of seafood quality. Because of this intimate relationship between quality and flavor, a clear understanding of the components that constitute flavor are significant and important. In this chapter, we have attempted to point out that consumers use seafood flavor for two broad decision-making functions: to classify fish species to determine their use and to determine acceptability. In a broad sense, the consumer asks first, "Will I like it?" followed by "Do I like it?" The answer to these questions determines repeat purchases of the item, on which rests the future of the seafood industry. Clearly, flavor science and technology has matured during the past decade, primarily due to the advent of modern instrumentation capable of observing and measuring compounds in the nanomole to femtomole range. The combined use of sensitive mass spectroscopy and high-resolution gas and liquid chromatography have helped our understanding of the flavor components associated with varying quality levels of seafoods. In addition, the combined use of sophisticated statistical tools along with sensory scoring techniques has enabled food technologists to put classification of fish species on a rational basis.

It would appear from a brief perusal of this chapter that the data generated over these last two decades on flavor compounds has diverged from the work of the sensory specialist. What then for the future? It is our belief that the dichotomy between flavor and sensory data is more apparent than real. New capabilities (both instrumental and chemical) will continue to be developed and applied to flavor research. In the last decade, instrumentation such as GC-mass spectroscopy, once the domain only of sophisticated academic research laboratories, has become increasingly available because it has decreased remarkably in price while becoming far easier to use and maintain. As with most current technology, this trend is expected to continue, and these methods will find their way into everyday routine Q&A procedures. In addition, the phenomenal and dramatic decrease in the costs of computation has placed extremely powerful analytical and statistical programs on virtually every desk in most laboratories. All of this taken together should yield even more data and information on chemical compounds responsible for flavor. However, even with all of this technical firepower, the role of the human judge or sensory specialist will not be replaced but will .become more important. It will be the sensory judges and consumers who will in the final analysis have to integrate the myriad of data observations into a cohesive role for flavor in quality.

The Mediterranean Diet Meltdown

The Mediterranean Diet Meltdown

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