Research area

Consumer and Sensory Sciences

The ability to develop new products that consumers choose and like is absolutely vital for the food industry. Many factors influence consumers' food choices and perception. Factors may be connected with the product itself, with the consumer, with the situation or with the surroundings.

By increasing our understanding of which factors are important for achieving a successful product, we can make product development more effective.

Understanding the consumer

Nofima focuses on contributing to more targeted product development through research into how the perception of food is influenced by various factors - such as the composition of the product and of the meal, the consumer's attitudes and values and the setting in which food is eaten. We have scientific and international competence in understanding the consumer's eating experience and the sensory perception of food in different situations. This understanding of the consumer is particularly important for meeting the increasing demand for more healthy food. Product innovation in this area may be based on investigating consumers' attitudes to and understanding of:

  • how product information is perceived and influences the choice of healthy products
  • sensory perception of healthy products
  • what consequences this has for the consumer's choice

To understand the consumer, Nofima adopts an inter-disciplinary approach. Research and knowledge from several different scientific areas, such as food technology, statistics, nutrition, sensory perception and consumer and market analysis, are brought together. We have competence in all these areas, as well as in developing and tailor-making suitable measuring methods and statistical techniques and models for consumer tests.

Segmentation

Different groups of consumers may have different characteristics and different attitudes to food. This means there will be variations in what is important to present to each target group. It is therefore essential to establish specific product and market strategies for each segment according to consumers' identity, attitudes and preferences.

Since children, young people and the elderly have specific nutritional needs, whilst at the same time they can be difficult in terms of sensory satisfaction, Nofima is placing an extra focus on these segments as consumers of healthy products.


We are also working on establishing preferences for traditional food and organic food. We are studying differences in preferences based on cultural factors, so as to be able to reveal export possibilities for Norwegian food producers.

 

None Photo: Astrid Hals
Copyright: Opplysningskontoret for kjøtt

Relevant news

 

Research area within Consumer and Sensory Sciences

Consumer studies

Nofima Mat has been building up solid competence in consumer studies over many years. We have experience in methods that measure and reveal a product's optimum properties in relation to the consumer's choice and actual consumption (acceptance).

Food and information

Informasjon i dagspresse påvirker vårt syn på blant annet mattrygghet.

The labelling of food is a very extensive area and is the subject of a number of absolute official requirements. In addition, both consumers and the authorities want it to be easy to see how healthy the food is and where it comes from. Norwegian consumers have great confidence in the authorities when it comes to labelling food.

Food and situation

Our food preferences are influenced by our surroundings, that is to say by contextual factors. Many products are perceived differently when consumed at home, compared with eating them in a restaurant or in a canteen. When the food companies carry out consumer testing to gain more knowledge about their products, it is important that they consider the possible influence of such factors.

Innovation and product development

Innovasjon og produktutvikling

To make progress in today's tough competitive situation, those involved in the food industry must focus on new ventures and innovation to an ever increasing extent. A focus on innovation is one of the most vital tools for increasing competitiveness and value creation in the food sector.

Sensometrics

A sensometric map.

Sensometrics are technics for connecting sensory perception, mathematics and statistical methods. The field embraces both analytical and measurement tools for sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing. Using statistical methods for analysing the data from sensory tests gives us the opportunity to make use of the results in both product development and quality control.

Sensory science

One of our sensory assessors deeply consentrated.

Sensory studies is the study of the senses and sensory perception. By sensory analysis we mean the way people describe a product's appearance, smell, taste, texture and sound. The analyses are carried out by persons who have been trained to recognise and characterise properties in different products.