Familiarity and identification of everyday food odors in older adults and their influence on hedonic liking

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In an aging population, changes in sensory abilities can adversely affect enjoyment of a meal. Age-related changes in identification ability and familiarity of food odors may influence food intake since some foods become less recognizable and attractive, which may affect the individual's health and nutritional condition. The aim of this study was to examine age-related changes in familiarity and the ability to correctly identify everyday food odors in older adults. We also aimed to establish the relationship between these changes and hedonic liking of food odors compared to young adults. The study included 335 participants, 246 older adults and 89 young adults. A positive relationship between familiarity and liking was observed across all food odors. Familiarity and odor identification ability declined with increasing age. The most significant loss in the ability to identify odors was observed for curry, fried meat, and toasted bread, while both age groups identified banana, orange, and vanilla equally well. For older adults with a diminished perception of familiarity and a reduced ability to identify odors correctly, increasing the concentration of the odor improved familiarity and enhanced their ability to identify odors. Our findings support the notion that the familiarity of food odors is an important parameter for the appreciation of food in older adults.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104715
JournalFood Quality and Preference
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022

    Research areas

  • Familiarity, Food odors, Hedonics, Identification, Older adults, Olfactory test method

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