Fifth Sense

Taste, Train, Enjoy


FlavorActiV are official supporters of Fifth Sense, the only charity that supports people with taste and smell disorders

We’re committed to improving beverage quality for both the producer and consumer

It is estimated that 1 in 20 people have a degree of sensory loss related to smell or taste. We’re working with Fifth Sense and our global beverage partners to raise awareness of sensory disorders that can hugely affect beverage enjoyment and quality of life.

What is Fifth Sense?

Fifth Sense exists to provide support and advice to smell and taste-related disorder sufferers, and so that society can understand what it means to suffer impairment of one or both of these senses.

Based in the UK, but with international membership, they support smell and taste disorder sufferers across the world, and are the first charity providing direct support, advice, and a signpost to potential treatment to sufferers of such conditions.

Fifth Sense’s strategy for achieving our goals is to address the lack of understanding within society of the role that the senses of smell and taste play in our lives, which is a major reason for the lack of the appreciation of the impact that disorders of these senses can have on sufferers.

How FlavorActiV can help


FlavorActiV support Fifth Sense by investing resources and tailoring current products and services to enhance beverage identification and enjoyment, with the ambition of ultimately improving quality of life for the millions affected globally.

The ramifications of smell or taste disorder for the individual, and the global beverage industry as a whole, are significant. FlavorActiV utilise its unique experience and extensive links across the industry to support Fifth Sense campaigns.

FlavorActiV’s support of Fifth Sense includes:

  • Informing and working with our beverage partners around the world to raise awareness and, share knowledge and gather data
  • Developing a take home Taste Kit for self-diagnosis of taste loss ability
  • Developing a Taste Loss Scale to help members understand their limitations and possibly discover previously unknown tasting abilities
  • Supporting and helping to facilitate Fifth Sense’s ambitions to arrange a global survey of taste and smell ability
  • Expanding our online Taster Validation Scheme to capture accurate data on taste ability globally, as well as learn from the current sensory information gathered from trained sensory tasters, to support Fifth Sense research activities
  • Engaging our team of professional taster trainers and dedicated back room staff will invest their time and energy into supporting the charity and its members.

2016 Pilot study

In 2016 FlavorActiV embarked on a pilot study with Fifth Sense volunteers, working with them over a series of months with the goal of training and hopefully improving tasting abilities. Each month volunteers were sent a pack of flavours to taste (sweet, salt, bitter, sour, umami), their results were fed into an online Taster Validation Scheme. FlavorActiV’s Global Sensory Managers then reviewed and adjusted concentrations of next round flavours for each volunteer to aid their individual training pathway.

The end goal of the study was to have improved on or at least categorically ruled out ability of certain tastes  for the volunteers . Follow-up meetings, further support and training, as well as to discussions into practical applications of the findings, for instance dietary recommendations are now ongoing.

The findings will also aid the development of a take home Taste Kit and Taste Loss Scale to accurately determine level of taste loss, providing members with essential information to understand their limitations and possibly discover previously unknown tasting abilities.

Get involved

If you are interested in what you have read, and keen to learn more and potentially get your company and/or tasters involved in supporting this great cause, then please contact FlavorActiV –, +44 (0)1844 396 113.

What’s next?

Take Home Taster Kits – Using our GMP Flavour Standards, we will develop a kit based using the basic tastes (salt, sweet, sour, bitter, umami or mushroom), that Fifth Sense members will be able to use at home (independently or in groups) to determine their own level of taste loss. This knowledge will then be captured on our online validation scheme, and used to inform future activities, including tailored training programmes and more sophisticated taste kits covering more advanced flavours. Our hope is that this will give people more confidence to try new things, and encouragement that their taste loss was maybe not as severe as previously imagined.

Taste Loss Scale – Working with Fifth Sense, we will develop a means of accurately determining the extent of a person’s taste loss. Smell loss does not necessarily mean that all taste is completely lost; the taste buds remain functional. What’s more, there is often no black or white in terms of olfactory impairment, instead degrees of loss. To address this and capture the information, and to help Fifth Sense members to understand the extent of their limitations, we will create a first of its kind; a Taste Loss Scale. This will enable them to appreciate the true extent of their ability to perceive taste and flavour and find new ways of experiencing and enjoying food and drink.

Global smell and taste disorders survey – In 2013 Fifth Sense commenced an ongoing survey of UK members to establish the impact of olfactory disorders on quality of life. A research paper based on the responses was published in Chemical Senses journal in 2014. The paper demonstrates, amongst other findings:

  • 92% said appreciation of food and drink had been reduced
  • 43% said they had suffered from depression (against a national average of 8–12%)

The results of the survey clearly demonstrates the huge impact that olfactory disorders can have on the quality of life those affected. This is compounded by a lack of awareness and knowledge across much of the medical profession and society as a whole. The result is that people affected by smell and taste disorders often feel that much of the pleasure has been taken out of life and that nothing can be done to help them. As their reach spreads, Fifth Sense plan to extend this survey into different territories (with the support of FlavorActiV and its global customer base), and gather data to illustrate the prevalence and impact of smell and taste disorders on a global basis. This information will help demonstrate the need for further research into new treatments, and engender a greater awareness of the impact that these conditions have on the lives of patients.

More information

Read our Open Letter to Fifth Sense members:

Read our technical poster presented at a leading international beverage conference:

Visit the Fifth Sense webpage to learn more: