Reading food experiences from the face : effects of familiarity and branding of soy sauce on facial expressions and video-based rppg heart rate

Wijk, Rene A. de; Ushiama, Shota; Ummels, Meeke; Zimmerman, Patrick; Kaneko, Daisuke; Vingerhoeds, Monique H.


Food experiences are not only driven by the food’s intrinsic properties, such as its taste, texture, and aroma, but also by extrinsic properties such as visual brand information and the consumers’ previous experiences with the foods. Recent developments in automated facial expression analysis and heart rate detection based on skin color changes (remote photoplethysmography or RPPG) allow for the monitoring of food experiences based on video images of the face. RPPG offers the possibility of large-scale non-laboratory and web-based testing of food products. In this study, results from the video-based analysis were compared to the more conventional tests (scores of valence and arousal using Emojis and photoplethysmography heart rate (PPG)). Forty participants with varying degrees of familiarity with soy sauce were presented with samples of rice and three commercial soy sauces with and without brand information. The results showed that (1) liking and arousal were affected primarily by the specific tastes, but not by branding and familiarity. In contrast, facial expressions were affected by branding and familiarity, and to a lesser degree by specific tastes. (2) RPPG heart rate and PPG both showed effects of branding and familiarity. However, RPPG heart rate needs further development because it underestimated the heart rate compared to PPG and was less sensitive to changes over time and with activity (viewing of brand information and tasting). In conclusion, this study suggests that recording of facial expressions and heart rates may no longer be limited to laboratories but can be done remotely using video images, which offers opportunities for large-scale testing in consumer science.