All about the taste - No hummus!

All about the taste - No hummus!

taste testing

Hummus shortage

This week we learnt that the Brits love hummus.  Apparently 41% of UK households have a pot of the chickpea yumminess in the fridge so the issue at Bakkavor caused some consternation across the nation as supplies at all major retailers dried up for a couple of days last week.

  1. The problem: a strange metallic taste. 
  2. Source: unknown - could be an oxidation problem from the tahini, could be the chick peas. 
  3. The issue: how to check that future supplies are clear and release high quality product to the market.

Managing taint and off-flavour is a huge and difficult issue for manufacturers.  Often there is little time to identify what is causing the problem, and even if this can be done by a complex array of flavour chemistry, the contaminant will often cause offense at levels far below those that can be detected instrumentally.  So the screening of production batches prior to release relies on the human palate.

However, by definition, these flavours are subtle and the hummus that one person thinks tastes fine will be rejected by another.  It is critical to identify a group of people who are sensitive to the offending note, check that they can detect consistently and accurately and use this group of sensitive souls to screen all future production batches. Operate on the side of caution: false positives and wasted product are a costly downside but less damaging than letting tainted product back into the market.

If you would like help or advice on managing taint and off-flavour problems then please get in touch.