The Virtual FlavourDay was organised by the European Flavour Association (EFFA) and the main objective of the event was to explore the role of taste in food.
Taste is often mentioned as one of the main drivers for consumer choices. And the event attempted to go a step further and think together about what that can mean, how taste can help to be a driver for more sustainable and conscious choices by enabling the consumers to choose a product that is good for them, good for the planet, but also tasty and enjoyable.
The online event attracted more than 360 participants and was hailed a success by the EFFA Communications Board Liaison and Past EFFA President Antoine Kastler, who highlighted the passion aspect of the flavour industry and its people.
He also thanked the EFFA volunteers in the year that marks the Association's 60th anniversary.
To accompany the four different candies created by flavourists, composer Adriano Galante created melodies for each of them so attendees could taste the candies one by one while listening to the music.
Kastler also reminded the pan-European reach of the event and said: "Generally, the FlavourDays were linked to a city, but this time, due to the exceptional circumstances of the past two years, we decided to do it virtually, which allowed us to do a truly European FlavourDay. We are really glad to have flavour houses, authorities, customers and associations with us from all over Europe and even beyond."
The event started with a keynote speech exploring the future trends and consumers needs and expectations when it comes to taste.
Regina Maiseviciute Haydon, Global Food and Drink Analyst at Mintel, emphasised that great taste and appealing new flavours are some of the basic factors that drive customers' interest and engagement when it comes to their needs behind flavour choices.
The inspiration of the ingredients also came from an EFFA Social Media campaign #TheFlavourofEurope and attendees of the Virtual FlavourDay got the chance to be part of a sensorial game by writing in a word-cloud what they thought the Flavour of Europe candies contained.
In a special Flavour of Europe session, a panel discussion was convened on the topic ‘When sustainable meets tasty: Can we have it all?’
The panel was moderated by Florence Rason and featured Alexandra Nikolakopoulou, Head of Unit Farm to Fork Strategy at DG SANTE, European Commission; Dr Betty Chang, Team Lead of Consumer Insights at the European Food Information Council (EUFIC), and Alice Ravenscroft, Head of Policy at the Good Food Institute.
The session discussed the importance of a transition towards a sustainable diet, and what can drive consumers to it. The role of taste was highlighted as something that can help consumers avoid making sacrifices when choosing a sustainable or healthy product - to have the best of both worlds.
More information on the Flavour of Europe, the stories of the ingredients chosen, and on the team of flavourists who created them, can be found on the EFFA website.