As Women’s Month draws to a close, we reflect on the contributions that women have made towards the science and research sector. With an unlimited access to some of the greatest minds from the University of Pretoria, Enterprises University of Pretoria (Enterprises UP) has the privilege to work with one such an outstanding researcher in food and sensory science.

For many years, Prof Riëtte de Kock has dedicated her work towards sensory research studies at the University of Pretoria’s Department of Consumer and Food Sciences. With a deep understanding of the struggles facing the food insecure Sub-Saharan African communities, her research has focused largely on creating nutritious and economical food alternatives, and bringing consumers and supply chains together.

The 2017 Distinguished Woman Researcher: Research and Innovation, Women in Science Award winner is a renowned researcher who has contributed to beneficial research studies in sensory science. Her research focuses on the optimisation of indigenous foods such as sorghum and marama beans to create nutritious, cost-effect food alternatives for communities. This research has culminated in the production of sorghum biscuits which rival many sugary alternatives on the market. The biscuits are made from home-grown sorghum, offering a practical substitute for using imported wheat. Prof de Kock leads a research team which produces Healthy SMA²RT Snacks from Climate-Smart Crops.

An NRF C-rated scientist, Prof de Kock has a lengthy record in the practice of sensory research, starting her work in food science in 1990. Since then, her accolades have expanded to include the founding of the African Network for Sensory Evaluation Research for Improved Nutrition (ANSWER), which focuses on engaging scientists from various research fields toward sensory and consumer science exploration. In addition to her professional research, Prof de Kock has contributed to numerous collaborative international market research studies. She is the Research Chair of the European Sensory Network and the head of the Sensory Evaluation and Food Technology Business Unit at Enterprises UP, which focuses on sensory evaluation and analysis.

The Sensory Identity Unit of the Department of Consumer and Food Sciences at the University of Pretoria does world class research on the appearance, aroma, taste, sound and feel of food products.  Consumers’ inputs on the sensory properties of food is an important aspect of food product development.

This Women’s Month, Enterprises UP celebrates its women in science and research.

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Visit our website for more information on our Sensory Evaluation and Food Technology Business Unit and a wide range of other research and advisory services that we have on offer.