Understanding Taste & Smell

Mapping our Senses

The human senses, primarily taste and smell, but also sight, hearing and touch, are at the heart of our research and development of new fragrances and flavors. We seek to uncover the fundamental mysteries of taste and odor perception, from our tongue and nose to our brain, to understand which sensory characteristics drive consumer preferences.


Exploring the frontiers of science allows us to generate sweet or savory tastes without sugar or salt, enhance sensations such as coolness, or modulate bitterness or sourness; and discover how to improve fragrance formulations, make pleasant scents last or control malodor.


Mapping Human Responses

Our breakthrough receptor biology and our mastery of cognitive sciences are key to our understanding of the human senses: how they transform smell and taste stimuli into physiological, cognitive and emotional responses. Research into the highly complex interactions of molecules with hundreds of olfactory receptors in the nose gives us an unprecedented edge in understanding the mechanisms of olfaction.  By unraveling the subtleties of the olfactory receptor code, Firmenich’s experts aim to create unique consumer products, such as targeted malodor blockers and more potent, stable or longer-lasting molecules with desirable olfactory characteristics.

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Understanding Emotions

Scents and tastes evoke profound memories and elicit human emotions such as happiness, relaxation, excitement. Through our global network of research centers, we are able to examine why and how the same tastes and smells may evoke different responses in different contexts and cultures, in order to design solutions tailored for specific markets. Brain scans, and advanced proprietary technologies such as ScentMove®, allow our researchers to shape emotive products that delight consumers.

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child smelling yellow flower

Mastering Taste and More

Making great products involves understanding how sight, sound and texture influence consumer perceptions and preferences. Our researchers master complex techniques for physical measurement of food mechanics, such as juiciness, crunchiness, softness and mouthfeel that make products taste, feel and look right.

girl eating a burger and holding a smoothie