Understanding and describing “Australian flavor” has proved to be a challenge for marketers of native foods because of the diversity of unique flavor signatures exhibited. Descriptive analysis techniques were applied, using a panel of 11 experienced judges, to define and articulate the sensory properties of 18 key commercial Australian native plant foods and ingredients including fruits, herbs and spices. Quantitative descriptive data were transformed into concise and accurate verbal descriptions for each of the species. The sensory language developed during the vocabulary development panel sessions was combined, categorized and ordered to develop a sensory lexicon specific for the genre. The language developed to describe the foods and ingredients was diverse and distinctly Australian including aromas such as musk, rosella, citrus and spiced tea to eucalypt, bush scrub, fresh beetroot and wheat biscuit.
This work provides a clear, useful means of characterizing and accurately describing the flavors of Australian native plant foods and ingredients. This information has been communicated to the native food industry, chefs, formulators, food technologists and flavor experts, and provides knowledge that will assist the wider food industry to successfully develop flavor blends and produce food products from native food ingredients. It is anticipated that extension of this information to both the local and international food markets will stimulate a renewed interest in Australian native ingredients and open new market opportunities for the industry. The data developed by this research have also formed the basis of quality control targets for emerging native foods and ingredients.