A promising niche market for Biosystèmes
November 12, 2009 Created in 1985 by engineering graduates of ENSBANA (now AgroSup Dijon), Biosystèmes, which today has 15 employees, is specialised in particular in the design and development of software for the acquisition and statistical treatment of sensory analysis data, destined for several industry sectors including the food industry.
This software is constantly evolving, in particular via the integration of new methodologies coming out of recent research. "For example, in collaboration with the CESG [European Centre for the Sciences of Taste in Dijon], we integrated the TDS method concerning the temporal dominance of sensations. It is a technique that determines, during the tasting of a product, the order of appearance of the sensations created by the product, over the course of time," explains François Sorrentino, one of the company's founders and the head of the R&D department. He alsoexplains that this techniue is of interest to a number of food manufacturers, for example chewing gum, but also wine, coffee and refreshing drinks, even though the time the product spends in the mouth is fairly brief.
Although laboratory-based sensory analysis is today the main use of the range of FIZZ by Biosystèmes software, which has a 60% share of this niche parket, one of the other tools, called FIZZ Web, has the particularity of allowing remote, web-based tests to be carried out. "The Web server allows our users to ask questions to a remote consumer panel who receive their testing products by mail, instead of having them come to a lab or sending an interviewer to meet them. The answers are immediately available and can be exploited statistically. We are thus able to find out for example if Burgundy spice bread that a company wants to export to China really corresponds to the tastes of the local consumers," indicates François Sorrentino.
During the second edition of SPISE 2009 (Summer Program In Sensory Evaluation), a symposium that took place in Ho Chi Minh City last August, and sponsored by Vitagora and Biosystèmes, François Sorrentino not only presented Fizz Web but also gave the results of the first tests carried out within the framework of SensoDist (remote sensory analysis). This project, lead by the CESG, in particular the laboratory of Catherine Dacremont, aimed to compare the results of web-based analysis, in a variety of languates and environments, to results obtained in controlled laboratory conditions.
Developed in partnership with Vitagora in 2007, this project has been 50% funded by the region of Burgundy. "It is a multi-layered study that started in Europe, in particular in France and Italy (where the research is already complete), and will continue in Vietnam, hence our presence in Ho Chi Minh City in August to set it up, but also in Morocco and Madagasgar," explains François Sorrentino. Already, it seems that the results obtained in France are very similar to those obtained in a laboratory, which is very encouraging considering the minimal infrastructure involved.
Once all the data has been collected and treated in the various countries, SensoDist should enter into its second phase, probably in 2010. "For the moment, we are in a preliminary phase for which we are working on model products, such as water presenting various levels of saltiness. But next, we will work on real products and will involve more food manufacturers," details François Sorrentino. All the results obtained by the project SensoDist will officially be presented in the summer of 2011, during the 9th edition of the Pangborn Sensory Science Symposium in Bangkok
Source : Agence JFD and Co