A Sense of Change

A Sense of Change

digital working

Having had such a fantastic day at the PFSG Conference on Monday I feel the need to share…  About 75 sensory and consumer science users and enthusiasts descended on Campden BRI (thank you to Peter and Sue!) to share a day of talks, workshops, hugely informative posters and good food.

To open we heard from David Mela who asked the fundamental question “Is it better to be wanted or liked”. It turns out that to be wanted is best as it is a better predictor of choice and purchase behaviour. To be wanted a product will have satisfied the norms of consumption occasion and will overcome the issue of boredom and so on.

Liking is quite robust to time of day and consumption occasion (which is great news for the researchers amongst us who worry about the time of day we schedule our tests). So we can eat chocolate everyday, still like it the same but not want it any more… ! This leaves the challenge for nutritionists like David of creating desire for foods that are good for us.

May Ng, who is studying for her PhD at Nottingham University, went on to remind us further of the danger of not interrogating hedonic data. May's research has shown that drinks that receive similar liking scores are clearly differentiated on the basis of their emotional profiles…even when there is no pack or branding but just product stimulus.

Before lunch, Lauren Rodgers gave a fantastic summary of the huge range of sensory claims in the market place and what we must do to substantiate these claims in the UK. An insight into what this means in reality for Tesco and their baby, beauty and clothing ranges was given by Melissa Spears.

After lunch we split up to take part in two workshops. Duncan Smith of Mindlabs reminded us of the significance of the unconscious elements in our decision making and how conscious, rational thought is usually put aside for choices made in the moment that depend on context, habit and rules of thumb. The latest developments in EEG technology, fMRI and Eye-Tracking offer ways to tap into this sub-conscious choice behaviour and Duncan illustrated how these are being applied in consumer research…he also revealed some very interesting gender differences by eye tracking!

Price research is tricky and the Willingness to Pay Auctions described by Carolina Chaya of the Technical University of Madrid, offer a fascinating solution. Such an auction asks consumers the price they would be prepared to pay but ensures they make a more considered and realistic choice by making them part with real money to buy the product dependent on the bid they make!

For the final presentation of the day Pascal Schlich updated us on TDS techniques. We had all had the chance to have a go at doing some TDS on chocolate samples throughout the day using TimeSens software and Pascal analysed and presented the results to us….the outcome was a clear indication that a some training on attribute meanings and how to carry out the technique are essential but after that we can all start collecting good TDS data.

Thank you to all who put the day together. If you would like to know more about any of the topics discussed or how they might be used in your business, please get in touch.