Optimization of flavour of industrially prepared food products is to a large extent a matter of preserving the flavour of the ingredient raw materials or of a freshly cooked item following the principle of the closer the resemblance, the better the flavour. This will be an increasingly important principle in the 1980s, particularly considering the continuously rising volume of industrial food preparation and of large-scale catering operations - developments which will make flavour preservation more difficult. In the 1980s, food product development and food production will to a larger extent be based on novel combinations of raw materials of a conventional or unconventional nature. The rationale behind these combinations is often the result of deliberations concerning primarily economy, nutrition, processing, and not always flavour. This may lead to quality properties which are not appreciated by the consumer. Recent applications of new protein sources in conventional food products have, in several cases, provided warning examples of what can happen. However, the technique of building up food products from conventional or new ingredients can be used for the benefit of quality such as flavour. This gives possibilities to steer flavour towards a desired goal by ingredient combination and processing at various stages of product preparation. Two types of important knowledge are needed before this can be done efficiently. One problem is that the role of various ingredients as flavour precursors is not yet known sufficiently, so the resulting flavour cannot be predicted. The other problem area lies within 'consumer science'. We have little knowledge of what the consumer expects or wants of a food product, particularly if this is based on new ingredients or if the product is of an entirely new type. Therefore, these areas have to be studied and investigated for the benefit of both the consumer and the food producer in the 1980s.