Henriette de Kock of the Univ. of Pretoria issued a challenge to the global sensory community at the 9th Pangborn Sensory Science Symposium in Toronto in September 2011. Her presentation was entitled, “Challenges and Opportunities for Sensory Science to Address Food and Nutrition Issues of Less Affluent Societies in Sub-Saharan Africa.” She identified three important areas that merit attention. The first is the enormous potential for food product development to meet the demands of a growing and more urbanized African population. The second is the incredible richness of sensory experience in traditional foods and the yet-to-be-discovered tastes of the biodiversity of Africa’s food plants. The third is in the fight against chronic disease in Africa. HIV/AIDS is now being treated with effective medical intervention, but the road to quality of life also comes in the form of better nutrition.
Session 108—An African Sensory Adventure: How Sensory Science Can Contribute to Food Security, Diversity, Health, and Nutrition in Africa—invites de Kock to present her challenge to a wider audience and expand her message with the help of two speakers.
After de Kock takes attendees on a sensory adventure of Africa, John S. Mendesh, General Mills, will discuss Partners in Food Solutions—a nonprofit organization that links the technical and business expertise of volunteer employees at General Mills, Cargill, and DSM to small and medium-sized mills and food processors in the developing world. The goals of Partners in Food Solutions are to improve the ability of those companies to produce high-quality, nutritious, and safe food at affordable prices, and to increase demand for the crops of small-holder farmers who supply those businesses. Partners in Food Solutions is currently assisting food companies in Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, and Zambia. Through infrastructure development and human-capital development, the program is helping to build a vibrant, sustainable food supply chain—and a more secure future.
Fran Osseo-Asare, BETUMI: The African Culinary Network, will then delve into sub-Saharan African flavor principles, ingredients, and cooking equipment and techniques, with special emphasis on western Africa. From the special texture created by the ridged grinding bowl called “asanka” in Ghana to the signature steamed bean pudding “moimoin” of Nigeria, from “Grains of Paradise” to fonio and other “Lost Crops of Africa,” and on to Africa’s love affair with New World crops, such as cassava, maize, and peanuts, this session will celebrate the abundance and diversity of good tastes from Africa.
Get a sense of Africa—from the flavors to the challenges facing the continent—in session 108 taking place Wednesday, June 27, 10:30–12:00 p.m., room N119.