Mouthfeel refers to the tactile sensations of a product in the mouth when you eat or drink until it is swallowed, as distinct from taste and flavor. In general mouthfeel and product texture affect the way a product is perceived and liked1. For instance, texture modified diets, which are used by patients with swallowing disorder to increase safety and efficacy of swallowing, can influence mouthfeel and level of acceptance2.
Need for international mouthfeel terminology in the medical nutrition industry
To date mouthfeel wording is not specified for medical nutrition, while the need has been identified. Today mouthfeel terminology in healthcare is used differently per country and even per care provider. This makes it challenging to interpret patients’ likes and dislikes with regards to their medical nutrition and therefore can negatively impact product intake.
Study resulted in mouthfeel wheel
Food Quality and Preference journal published ‘A “Mouthfeel wheel” terminology for communicating the mouthfeel attributes of medical nutrition products (MNP)’. As a result of the study a mouthfeel wheel was developed with the ultimate goal to improve medical nutrition with an optimized mouthfeel for patients. The study was done in collaboration with MMR. MMR Research Worldwide Ltd is a global leader in consumer and sensory research for food, drink and other Consumer Packaged Goods. The study used the latest sensory methodologies resulting in an extensive mouthfeel language wheel to bridge the communication gap between patients, prescribers and carers. The wheel should improve discussions on the needs of patients and their medical nutrition.
Inspired by the wine industry
Camille Corbier, Sensory Team Leader at Danone Research & Innovation: “We derived the idea of the mouthfeel wheel from the wine industry. In the wine industry the wheel is used for communicating wine characteristics with product developers, wine experts and consumers. We feel one standard mouthfeel wheel for the medical nutrition industry could potentially help to improve the patients experience and increase patient compliance. As a next step we recommend testing our wheel and its wording with patients, doctors and product developers.”
1. (Jianshe & Rosenthal, 2015) https://www.elsevier.com/books/modifying-food-texture/chen/978-1-78242-333-1 2. (Wirth, 2016) Oropharyngeal dysphagia in older persons – from pathophysiology to adequate intervention: a review and summary of an international expert meeting. Wirth Clinical Interventions in Aging 2016:11 189–208 (Paragraph Malnutrition and Dehydration)