E3S Workshop at EuroSense 2022: North, South, East, West: A diverse cross-cultural perspective on consumer food choices and preferences

Friday 16th September, 2022

10.30 – 12.00 Teatro Hall

Chair: Paula Valera (Nofima, Norway) and Carolina Chaya (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Spain)

Presenters and Discussants: Ratapol Teratanavat (Takasago International Corporation, USA), Kristine Wilke (P&K Research, USA), Lauren Rogers (Freelance Sensory Scientist, UK), Carlos Gomez-Corona (Firmenich SA, France), Leticia Vidal (Universidad de la Republica, Uruguay), Riëtte de Kock and N Magano (University of Pretoria, South Africa), Sara Spinelli (University of Florence, Italy)

Background

This workshop is the result of the collaboration among four sensory science societies: the African Network for Sensory Evaluation Research (ANSWER), the Society of Sensory Professional (SPSS), the Latin-American sensory network (SenseLatam) and the European Sensory Science Society (E3S), representing different regions in the world, that met together online during 2021 to explore how their common efforts could contribute to the growth of sensory science globally.

Objectives

The overarching theme of the workshop will be diversity in sensory and consumer science, from different perspectives: product development targeted to consumers with different ethnic backgrounds (SSP), gender and food preferences (E3S), food choice from a cross-cultural perspective (ANSWER) and social media exploration in a continent with the same language but diverse cultures (SenseLatam). All topics having different underlying methodological issues, that will be addressed during the workshop.

Interactive nature

Interaction will be prioritised, using a mix of approaches: presentations, discussion, and a combination of live Q&A with the use of an electronic platform for interaction (e.g Miro, Padlet, Mentimeter, Remesh).

Each presentation will last 10 minutes with 10 minutes of discussion and interactions via the e-platform (total of 80 minutes). The workshop will finalise with a 10-minute global summary.

Scientific Content

  • “Factors driving food choices of consumers in African countries”. R. de Kock; M. Yaakwaah Blay Adjei & A, Gebre Mezgebe, African, Network for Sensory Evaluation Research (ANSWER).

The successful development of food products to enhance the nutrition status and wellbeing of consumers requires instruments that can reliably predict factors that influence food choices.  What are the factors that drive food choices of consumers in African countries and are the instruments available and used optimally to predict acceptance of products for these markets?

  • “Factors that Influence Food Choices Among Multicultural Consumers – Practical Considerations in Gaining Deeper Insights from Ethnic American Consumers”. R. Teratanavat, K. Wilke & L. Rogers. Society of Sensory Professionals (SSP).

While many US companies are focusing on multicultural US consumers, the challenge in these studies is that typically all consumers are put into a single cohort, even though there are huge diversities in their consumption behaviors and preferences within the different ethnic groups present (e.g., Mexican American vs Colombian American) and within different ethnic generations (e.g., immigrants, first-generation, second-generation, etc.). Understanding the differences within ethnic groups has practical implications for new product development for food and beverage companies and, therefore, this workshop will discuss approaches to help address these issues.

  • “Social media cross-cultural studies in Latin America. Methodological challenges” Gomez-Corona & L. Vidal – SenseLatam

The raising popularity of social media in the last decades has created an unprecedented opportunity for consumer research. Massive amounts of data are readily available, which makes social media an attractive source of information for cross-cultural research. However, this opportunity does not come without challenges. In this presentation, the opportunities, and methodological challenges of conducting social media research across Latin American countries will be discussed.

  • “Similarities in the difference: sex and gender in food preferences and choices”. Spinelli, P. Varela & T. Gallina Toschi, European Sensory Science Society (E3S)

Sex/gender is at present considered one of the most influential variables on food preferences and taste perception, with women being found collectively more sensitive to taste and odours (i.e. showing a higher responsiveness) and, to name a few specific findings, with a higher health attitudes towards foods, with lower preferences for fat-rich and spicy foods, greater inclination to eat in response to negative emotional states and with higher sensitivity to disgust. However, the magnitude of these (and many other) differences is unclear, due to an ambiguous definition of sex and gender, as well as to gaps and limitations in the research conducted to date that will be discussed during this presentation.

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