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A study spanning five continents shows that people the world over associate food and feeling good with ’tastes good’. However, when they think about the future, health and nutrition gain in salience. This reality could help change the direction of health programs and make them more functional and efficient.
Modern consumers are not just expecting the food to taste good and the beverages to be satisfying; eating and drinking should make you feel good too. The construct "feeling good" is a challenge for the sensory researchers and manufacturers who develop food and beverages. What does the consumer mean by feeling good? To answer the question, the European Sensory Network (ESN), an association of research institutes from 21 countries, took up the hunt by setting up a study spanning 14 countries on five continents. The result: specific foods or beverages, such as ‘chocolate’, ‘wine’, ‘fruit’, ‘soda’, ‘beef’, ‘water’, as well as expressions related to tastes good, lead the list when it comes to food and the sense of feeling good.
However, in some respects, countries also differed in their answers. For example, Norwegians often thought of fish when it came to eating and feeling good, Brazilians envisioned orange juice, Germans and French thought of water. Contrary to expectations, the English seldom came up with tea, and the Chinese rarely chose rice. But there was one thing that united all nations. Even if layer cakes and steaks led the field when it came to a sense of feeling good in the present, when thinking about the future, feeling good was more often associated with healthier foods – especially fruit and vegetables.
"Programs that promote a healthier diet can make use of the new findings and, for instance, focus on the consumers’ relating ‘feeling good’ to partaking in healthy food and drink as a way to influence present buying and consumption patterns." explains Claire Sulmont-Rossé, lead author of the study and Chair of the European Sensory Network.
The text is based on the publication: A cross-cultural perspective on feeling good in the context of foods and beverages Food Research International 2019, Volume 115, Pages 292-301 Claire Sulmont-Rossé, Rafal Drabek, Valérie L. Almli, Hannelize van Zyl, Ana Patricia Silva, Martin Kern, Jean A. Mc Ewan, Gastón Ares