Understanding consumer’s food choice

From the supermarket and restaurants to the gym and social media, we are overloaded with information about healthy and sustainable food everywhere. Despite all this information, we often choose to consume food that is less healthy or sustainable. But why? How does this process actually work? Why do we end up choosing certain products?

Our choices can be influenced by a lot of factors, such as a product's colour, its look, the sound it makes, or the fact that it smells great. These impressions tap into our experiences, our memory. Our senses take in all this information, which then triggers our emotions and causes a specific reaction: choosing or not choosing a product.

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Food choice

At Wageningen University & Research, we are investigating the factors that determine why consumers repeatedly buy and consume certain products. By combining fundamental and applied research, we want to understand the relation between a product’s sensory aspects, the emotions they trigger in the consumer, and the resulting acceptance of the product. We use a wide variety of tools, including questionnaires, automated facial expression analysis, physiological measures such as heart rate and sweat response, and state-of-the art MRI scanning facilities. Our lab consists of equipment for testing the separate or combined contributions of odor, texture, taste, and visual information.

We use this all-in approach to find sustainable answers to questions of both private and public organizations. Whatever the situation we can help to understand consumer choices, even better.