Youth explore sensory science at MSU

Exploring the different programs related to food science was a goal of the 4-H Health and Food Science Camp. Let’s explore what the youth learned regarding food sensory science at MSU.

Many times, when we think of “food science,” we think about the ingredients of food. We might also think food science relates to how food is preserved or the chemistry and microbiology related to our food.

At Michigan State University in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, students are learning about another type of food science called “sensory science.” Sensory science looks at the five senses: taste, touch, hearing, sight and smell. Together with educated faculty and staff, students are learning how to test and research what consumers will like better or worse due to their senses.

Many different companies and organizations look to the MSU Food Sensory Laboratory to help them understand how consumers may use their senses and how that relates to their purchasing and enjoying products.

MSU Food Sensory Laboratory is located in the first floor of the G. Malcom Trout FSHN Building on the MSU campus in East Lansing, Michigan. This is a short distance to the many other food processing plants (dairy, cereal and meat) on campus as well. This close connection allows food scientists from many different areas to work together to provide research and products for companies and organizations.

During the 4-H Health and Food Science Camp, youth had the chance to use their senses and try food. They experimented with cookies and jellybeans to see if their senses could tell the difference. Thanks to a donation from TIC Gums, youth also had the opportunity to make a gummy-type substance that would resemble a gummy bear. These were great hands-on learning activities that helped youth learn more about the MSU food sensory program.

The Michigan 4-H Youth Development Program provides hands-on learning for youth across Michigan to learn new things. The 4-H Health and Food Science Camp is just one of those opportunities available for students. To learn more about 4-H and to get involved with programs, visit your MSU Extension county office

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