Sensory- and consumer scientists have knowledge about food habits
Never ever have scientists known so much about consumers’ attitudes to food. While the focus used to be on single products and sensory perception, scientists at Nofima Mat have, in recent years placed increased emphasis on studying consumers’ attitudes and preferences, and the importance of these factors for sensory perception of food.
During 2009 and 2010, sensory- and consumer scientists at Nofima Mat have published 33 scientific papers in refereed journals. This is a very good result for a group of seven research scientists.
From sensory perception to food experience
The research covers a broad area of science. Common for most of the papers are use of several sources of data and statistical methods for exploring how sensory experiences are affected by different factors, like the composition of the meal, product information, sensory expectations and the context.
Among the results we find for example answers to; which innovations are acceptable in traditional food, Norwegian consumers’ preferences for dry cured ham, important factors for choice of apples, reasons for acceptance of low-calorie dairy products, how portion size may affect the intake of food and how sensory perception of salmon change when paired with different sauces.
As well as mapping consumer preferences for food and meals, the scientists are also developing new statistical methodology and software that will contribute to increased accuracy of innovations in the food market for the industry. This activity has resulted in several publications.
EU-projects increase the number of publications
The high number of publications is an outcome of both national and international collaboration. Especially the number of EU-projects has resulted in many scientific publications. In these projects we have collaborated with competent research scientists from several European research communities, states Margrethe Hersleth, Sensory Research Scientist at Nofima. In addition, we have financed our research from the Foundation for Research Levy on Agricultural products and the Research Council of Norway. These national projects have allowed for interdisciplinary collaboration with research scientists from complementary research communities in Norway.
I addition to the large number of scientific publications, the research group has also registered a total number of 69 articles in mass media (newspapers, popular science magazines) in the same period. In January 2011 Nofima Mat will arrange a seminar where results from latest research will be presented. This event will mainly be focused on consumers’ attitudes to innovations in food.