Beth Altringer first became fascinated in flavor when she joined a competitive wine tasting league while in graduate school at The University of Cambridge.

While it had nothing to do with her field of study (product design and innovation), the very idea of breaking down the characteristics of wine and its flavor into highly descriptive and well understood categories was a revelation to Altringer, so much so she eventually began to think about the idea of applying this systematic and analytical approach to flavor to almost any type of food.

It was from there that the Flavor Genome Project was born, an initiative that “explores how components of flavor combine to create delightful multi-sensory, chemical, emotional, and cultural experiences.”  The goal of the project is to eventually create an “automated understanding of what people are intuitively searching for in a food or drink experience, regardless of the language they use to search for it, intelligently understanding flavor goals in context, and, ultimately, making it easier for people to discover experiences they are likely to enjoy.”

According to Altringer, the Flavor Genome Project is intended to be a platform that could be a foundation for other products, and the first of those product is a mobile game called Chef’s League.  The iOS game allows players to compete to master the usage of different flavor characteristics such as “salt, sweetness, acidity, fat, spice, and more.”

You can find out more about the Flavor Genome Project here and the Chef’s League game here. You can also learn about them from listening to my conversation with Beth on this episode of The Food Tech Show podcast. As always, you can listen to on Spotify, Apple Podcasts or wherever you get your podcasts, or you can download direct or just click play below.

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