The Science of Sweetness: Taste and Learn

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4-5 PM EST

Description: Why do some people taste sweetness differently than others? Why do some people have strong preferences for sweetness while others do not? Join the PepsiCo Health & Nutrition Sciences team as we take a page from wine tastings and lead you through an intimate virtual tasting of select beverages with our very own “Sweetness Sommelier,” Dr. John Hayes, Director of the Penn State Sensory Evaluation Center.  

We’ll be your guide for the evening, showcasing a range of PepsiCo’s beverage and hydration options as we bring you along an interactive journey of our sugar reduction strategy where you’ll learn the science of sweetness through taste.


View recording by registering here

After this presentation, the attendee should be able to:

  • Identify two tactics that PepsiCo is utilizing to help reduce calories and sugar across its global beverage portfolio.
  • Describe how low calorie sweeteners (LCS) can be used to help reduce calorie intake by substitution in calorie rich foods and beverages. 
  • Apply two strategies that help patients and clients with different sweet preferences and identify beverage options that meet their needs.

This webinar has been approved for 0.75 CPEU with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Once you are finished viewing the webinar the CPEU certificate can be downloaded here.


Use the educational resources below from the PepsiCo Health & Nutrition Sciences team to follow along with our “Sweetness Sommelier” during the webinar: 


Moderated By: 

Karen van het Hof, PhD, MSc, Senior Director,

Health & Nutrition Sciences at PepsiCo


Karin van het Hof is Senior Director Health & Nutrition Sciences at PepsiCo, guiding the strategic plans for the global Beverages category and leading the substantiation of functional benefits for PepsiCo’s innovation pipeline. In addition, she drives the transformation of the beverage portfolio in line with the company ambition of “Winning with Purpose”.

Karin has an MSc and PhD in nutrition science, she is visiting associate professor at the Division of Human Nutrition & Health of the Wageningen University in the Netherlands and president of the Dutch Nutrition Society. Prior to her current role at PepsiCo, Karin has held various positions at Unilever and at Nutrileads, a health ingredients company.



John E. Hayes, PhD, Professor of Food Science, Director,

Sensory Evaluation Center, Penn State University


John is a Professor in the Department of Food Science at Penn State, where he is also a member of the graduate programs in Neuroscience and Nutritional Sciences.

As Director of the Penn State Sensory Evaluation Center, he runs a multi-faceted research program that applies sensory science to a diverse range of problems, including work on chemosensation, genetics and food choice, as well as the optimization of oral and non-oral drug delivery systems.

Prior to coming to Penn State, he earned a BS and MS in Food Science from Cornell University and a PhD in Nutritional Sciences from the University of Connecticut before completing an NIH T32 fellowship in behavioral genetics and alcohol addiction at the Brown University Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies.

Dr. Hayes has received multiple international awards, including the Ajinomoto Award for an outstanding junior scientist in the field of gustation, and the Barry Jacobs Award for research in human psychophysics, both from the Association for Chemoreception Sciences (AChemS), the Elsevier Food Quality and Preference Researcher of the Future Award, and the Rose Marie Pangborn Sensory Science Scholarship.

He has authored over 125 peer-reviewed articles, and serves as a Section Editor for Physiology & Behavior. He has been an invited plenary or keynote speaker for events in North America, South America, Europe, Asia and Australia, and his work is regularly featured in the media, by outlets including NPR All Things Considered and Morning Edition, The Wall Street Journal, The Guardian (UK), The Times (London), The Atlantic, Slate, The Huffington Post, CNN, Vice, Popular Science, Wine Enthusiast, Cook’s Science, and Vogue.