The Roles of the Senses in Different Stages of Consumers’ Interactions With Food Products

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeChapterScientific

6 Citations (Scopus)


The perception of sensory information constitutes the starting point for how a product is experienced: from the cognitive associations and meanings it evokes, whether it is pleasing or not, through to the emotional responses it may activate, and any actions it triggers. Food products are unique in that our interactions with them may involve all of the senses. Experiences with food products are inherently dynamic, implying that modalities may play different roles in various stages of user–product interactions. To assess the consumer perception and acceptance of foods, it is important to sample all stages. Some studies have used a separate approach for each stage, but this complicates comparisons over stages. In the few studies that have utilized a more unified approach, participants rated experiences on an identical subset of sensory-perceptual attributes at each stage, or they focused on perceived importance or satisfaction with modalities. These studies reveal the dynamic character of food experiences, with dominant roles switching between modalities over the different stages.
In this chapter, I distinguish between the experience of the packaged product (buying, transportation, storage, opening the package), the unpacked product (food preparation, cooking, serving, eating), and the postconsumption process (postingestive effects and disposal). I discuss each stage based on empirical findings combined with qualitative and personal insights. This overview reveals a general interaction pattern, starting out with exploration from a distance (vision), followed by closer inspection and active engagement (touch), to intimate contact with the product that ultimately involves ingestion (smell and taste), followed by any postingestive effects.
Careful monitoring and evaluation are important for unraveling the richness of people’s sensory experiences. In-depth knowledge of interactions provides an important resource for understanding responses to current products, overcoming consumption barriers for uncommon products, and for developing new market offerings.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMultisensory Flavour Perception
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Fundamental Neuroscience Through to the Marketplace
EditorsBetina Piqueras- Fiszman, Charles Spence
PublisherWoodhead Publishing
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)978-0-08-100351-0
ISBN (Print)978-0-08-100350-3
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Publication series

NameWoodhead Publishing Series in Food Science Technology and Nutrition
PublisherWoodhead Publishing Limited


  • Experience
  • food
  • dynamics
  • interaction
  • expectation
  • meaning
  • liking
  • emotion


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