Researcher biography

Dr Heather Smyth is a flavour chemist and sensory scientist who has been working with premium food and beverage products for more than fifteen years. With a background in wine flavour chemistry, her expertise is in understanding consumer enjoyment of foods and beverages in terms of both sensory properties and composition.

Dr Smyth has a special interest in describing and articulating food quality, understanding regional flavours of locally grown produce, and modelling food flavour and textural properties using instrumental measurements. Dr Smyth also specialises in researching how human physiology, such as saliva and chewing behaviour, can impact sensory perception and therefore food choice.

Current projects involve specialty coffee, beer, wine, native plant foods, cocoa, meat and seafood, tropical fruits, cereals, dairy products and some processed products and snack foods. Dr Smyth collaborates with a number of companies and research groups to discover how and why consumers enjoy food which aids in the design and production of superior products with increased consumer value.

Dr Smyth is also heavily involved in training industry and researchers in the application of flavour chemistry, sensory and consumer evaluation methods.