Normally, this kind of evaluation relies on subjective reporting of the physical sensations experienced while drinking a beverage. However, Kirin determined there is a correlation between the quenching satisfaction of a beverage and the extent to which muscles around the throat tire.
By using an electromyogram to measure the firing patterns of muscles around the pharynx, Kirin identified differences when people drink hard water as opposed to regular drinking water, and the same pattern showed up when people drank warm water as opposed to cold water or carbonated water. In further experiments, the company found it could use the measurement to differentiate lemon-flavored water, which is more thirst-quenching than regular water, from salty water, which is less.
Kirin plans to use the technique to test beverages during new-product development.
From the August 18, 2008, Prepared Foods e-Flash