The sensory assessors at Nofima can be used as an objective measuring instrument for both sensory properties and satiety.

Innovation, Consumer and Sensory Sciences

Great taste and food experiences are keys when consumers choose food products. We conduct research on sensory perception, consumer behaviour and innovation processes. The goal is to increase the value creation for food manufacturers and to contribute to a more healthy and sustainable society.

We offer

  • Facilitation of innovation processes through “Design Thinking”, open innovation and future scenarios
  • Food analysis using Nofima’s trained sensory panel in a sensory laboratory
  • Advice and training for building up sensory panels, panel management and the use of relevant software
  • The statistical software PanelCheck (for analysing sensory/organoleptic data) and ConsumerCheck (for analysis of consumer data) with the associated expertise in using and interpreting results

Some achievements

  • Insights in consumer driven food innovation
  • Knowledge of interdisciplinary cooperation in research and innovation projects
  • Knowledge of consumer preferences and consumers attitudes towards food
  • Methods for generating consumer insights and combining them with sensory insights
  • Development of the statistical software PanelCheck and ConsumerCheck

In order to address social challenges relating to food and health issues, there is a need for innovations based on knowledge about food perception and the consumers, as well as collaboration across disciplines and the various stakeholders in the food market. Understanding consumers’ food expericences and needs is vital in order to develop products and concepts that succeed in the market.

Sensory Science

Sensory Science is defined as the understanding of sensory perceptions of food and other stimuli through sight, taste, smell, touch or hearing. Based on our knowledge in this field, we can gain a systematic and scientific understanding of how to develop products that the consumer choose and like.

Although instrumental and chemical measurement methods can provide information about food characteristics, it is only by the use of the human senses we can gain a comprehensive understanding of the overall sensory experience.

We offer sensory analyses by using a panel of professional tasters who evaluate the eating quality of food. This sensory information adds an extra dimension in product development, quality control and research on food.

Understanding consumers

A sustainable diet requires extensive knowledge about the various groups of consumers, their demographics, life situation, attitudes and values. When combining this knowledge with insights about sensory perception, it becomes possible to create a basis for healthy food choices.

We offer research-based insights on consumers’ needs, food choices and attitudes towards food. We also have extensive expertise in statistical methods that provide greater insights into individual consumer needs.

Two consumer groups are particularly relevant for our research: children and the elderly. As eating habits are formed at an early age, it is important to understand mechanisms affecting the development of food preferences among children. Another important research area is how food and meals can be adapted to the different needs of elderly consumers.

Innovation

Innovation can be new commodities, services, application areas, production processes or organisational structures that create social economic value.

We focus on developing new approaches, tools and methods that promote innovation processes. We facilitate and do research on innovation processes across scientific disciplines, industry, research and public sector stakeholders.

To identify needs it is important to create insights in the market and among consumers. Combined with active involvement of consumers and other actors in innovation processes, this can lead to increased accuracy and potential for innovation.

A key focus area for our researchers is to examine the best ways for implementing open innovation. We also carry out research to understand the role small businesses play in driving innovation in the Norwegian food industry, and how the big players can learn from the smaller ones. We use “Design Thinking” to facilitate innovation processes and adapt the methodologies to different needs and forms of cooperation.

Another important issue is to examine new approaches and collaboration methods which can be used to drive innovation for a sustainable food industry.

Read more about:

Creating Value

Some results from scientific projects in innovation, consumer and sensory sciences

Driver behind local food

2018

Bakken Øvre farm in Løten is home to the Kildahl family. Both farm and family have been a hub for developing local food in Norway.

 

Healthier bread with less salt

2018

Salt reduction is important for public health, especially in everyday foods. Nofima scientists are working to find ways to reduce the salt content of bread.

 

Shifting to plant-based

2018

What do Norwegian consumers think about vegetarian food? Nofima researchers are going to find out in a rather creative way.

 

Packaging reduces food waste

2017

The environmental impact of throwing food away far exceeds that of packaging it in plastic.

 

Make way for the Telemark kling

2017

Three entrepreneurs, who currently each run their own bakery business, have established a joint side line, with the goal of selling Telemark klings all over Norway.

 

Ideas via artificial intelligence

2017

When you comment on posts in Facebook forums, you may also unwittingly be contributing to innovation.

 

See more examples of Creating Value

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