“Real”: Current Insights into Consumer Attitudes and Perceptions

Thursday, October 27  •  1:50–2:50 p.m.

Moderators: Laura Jefferies, Brigham Young University, and Sarah Kirkmeyer, Givaudan Flavors

The trend of simplifying labels and listing only pantry-type ingredients is challenging nearly every aspect of the development process. As consumer and sensory researchers, it is critical to understand consumer perceptions and find the opportunities to deliver the best products. Significant business writing, blogs and news stories in the popular press have increased consumer awareness and perhaps misconceptions of ingredients, labels and claims. Consumer opinions are changing day to day as a result of these influences and researchers have a responsibility to bring objective evaluation and rigor to this topic, apply innovative research to anticipant demand, and translate insights into consumer relevant products. To bring this to life, leading industrial consumer and sensory researchers will provide their perspective using case studies and examples across a variety of consumer research approaches. This session will not focus on legislation or methodologies, rather insights that provide a snapshot in time in what we understand to foster thought provoking questions. 



Evaluation of Consumer Perception Dynamics 2.0

Thursday, October 27  •  4:20–5:20 p.m.

Moderators: John Castura, Compusense Inc.; Michael Meyners, Procter & Gamble Service GmbH

Over the last decade, so-called rapid methods for sensory evaluation have been developed to permit consumers to characterize products. The possibility to analyze both sensory perception data and hedonic and other data arising from the same consumers presents new opportunities, but also new challenges to investigate hedonic drivers and other interesting aspects.

Conventionally, trained (and often small) panels have been used to measure the dynamic properties of products. But such a small group of trained assessors cannot be representative of the diverse experiences of a broad population of consumers. What benefits can be derived from having dynamic perception data from consumers, and being able to link this data to product liking and other data from the same consumers?



The Interplay of Amylase and Texture Perception:  An Interactive Demonstration

Thursday, October 27  •  4:20–5:20 p.m.

Moderator: John Smythe, Tate & Lyle

This workshop will demonstrate how conventional thinning/thickening mechanisms interact with the often overlooked impact of starch breakdown from the amylase in our saliva. After a brief introduction discussing genetic differences and how they impact sensory perception across a variety of perceptual modalities, the workshop will then focus on understanding how genetic differences can lead to perceptual differences in specific to amylase activity. Special focus will be given to how this effect can make traditional sensory measures of descriptive profiling difficult. Participants will taste various samples and rate them for gross time-intensity changes in thickness. Some samples will have no amylase active starches, and therefore are likely to be perceived similarly, while other samples will have easily digested starches that can greatly influence how they are perceived to breakdown in the mouth. In this process, the speakers hope to alert the participants of confounds on traditional sensory methods and encourage them to take a deeper look at why certain factors (like mouth thinning) are difficult, if not impossible, to emulate with instrumental methods. Additionally, participants will discuss novel techniques to understand phenomena that are difficult to get panelist alignment on. While this is of special interest in the case of amylase thinning as the properties of a product in the mouth can change in thickness, density, and even sweetness as starches are converted to simple sugars with amylase activity, the goal is to encourage researchers to consider other modalities as well.


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