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The common assumption is that our sense of taste is the most important when it comes to food. But studies show that our other senses come into play before taste. When dining out, we make our choices based on the aromas we smell in the air, and the menu options and food we see others eating. We only get to taste it when the food arrives.

Instead of rational reasons, consumers are increasingly influenced by emotions and psychological perceptions in their F&B purchasing journey. They look for a multisensory experience associated with a meal or product – from peer-to-peer sharing, experience design, product journeys and stories, to augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) enhancements. In the age of social media, the rise of ‘Instagram’ foods fulfil the desire to see beautiful images of food, which in turn triggers actual appetite. This challenges food service providers to take their food aesthetics to the next level — how menus, meals and meal kits will photograph can have great impact on product awareness and consumption, as well as quality perception.

Food and beverage players can benefit from the sensory food trend by capturing consumer senses through visual appeal, auditory experiences, textural integrity, and nostalgia. This is where micro sensory foods come in – they go beyond taste to focus on specific senses. Consider foods or ingredients that double up as colour enhancers (saffron for visual), new types of garnishing (visually-appealing edible flowers), aroma builders (fragrant kumquat or lemongrass), and textural integrity (chewy Tteokbokki for mouthfeel).

Stirring food memories
Whether you’re dishing up homely, hearty meals that spark nostalgic moments with family, or serving up traditional cuisine that remind customers of their travels, the imagery used will drive the customer back to these memories and stimulate their purchase behaviour. The growing appetite for experiencing the context and culture of world foods is also evolving alongside technological innovation. Apps are being developed to add entertainment to food experiences. Through AR and VR, consumers can dine under the sea or at a rural hillside in Italy— all in the comfort of their homes.

The effect of sound
Breakfast cereal manufacturers have long recognised the importance of sound in suggesting quality and evoking pleasure from consumers. Kellogg’s “Snap, Crackle, and Pop” ads for Rice Krispies has received numerous iterations since it debuted in the 1930s. Research also suggests that consumers equate the fizzy sound of a just-opened carbonated beverage and the crispy crunch of snack chips with freshness. Yet sound has been under-appreciated and under-researched, according to Charles Spence, a psychology professor at the University of Oxford and expert on sensory perception.

Visual appeal
Consumers ‘eat with their eyes’. Today, with so many consumers snapping food photos and posting them on social media, enticing food presentation has never been more crucial for food and beverage products.

Textural robustness
Texture is a critical factor between acceptance or rejection. Consumers look for mouthfeel, which helps them determine whether a food is tough or tender; chewy, mushy or flaky; crispy, crunchy or soggy; cohesive or crumbly; viscous or watery; cool or warm. A product may taste great, but if the texture is grainy or less than desirable, the flavour perception can be skewed based on dislike of the texture. Together with other sensorial factors, texture can inspire an emotional connection between consumers and brands. The multisensory experience created from that product is what makes a brand stand out from the rest, driving not just purchase intent but repeat purchase.

Food and beverage choices have moved far from being one-dimensional as consumers attach more significance to their food choices, prioritising personalisation and adventure, as well as wellness and environmental sustainability. Consumers want to be delighted, surprised and excited by their food. The key to winning them over is to provide a multisensory experience where their food journey taps into as many senses as possible.


Recent multisensory articles

Flavour trendsMultisensory
September 13, 2021

Remember the ‘Scoop! There It Is!’ Geico ad with Tag Team? It’s now an actual ice cream | USA Today

Hip-hop duo Tag Team have turned a popular ad with Geico into their own flavor of ice cream. The music group known for the '90s hit "Whoomp! There It Is!"…
Flavour trendsMultisensory
September 13, 2021

Pepsi Cream Soda & Black Cherry | Food Digital

New music video for Pepsi-Cola Soda Shop in Cream Soda & Black Cherry flavours staring ‘Need to Know’ singer Doja Cat, with a nostalgic throwback to Grease Pepsi has unveiled…
September 9, 2021

First look: Diageo opens incredible Johnnie Walker Experience in Edinburgh | Daily Record

Guests will be able to explore hundreds of flavours (Image: Diageo) Scotland's newest whisky attraction, the Johnnie Walker Princes Street Experience, has opened in the heart of Edinburgh. The eagerly awaited eight-floor visitor experience, which…
September 8, 2021

Musician creates unique concert experiences that involve sight and smell | Evanston RoundTable

Yang, left, and Matt Agnew, play a concert at the Stan Mansion. (Photo by Gay Riseborough) A new not-for-profit is setting out to engage all five senses with its symbiosis…
Flavour trendsMultisensorySnack
September 7, 2021

Pringles ready for Halloween with Glow-In-The-Dark cans | Guilty Eats

Chicken sandwich phenomenon, photo by Cristine Struble The calendar has officially turned to September and that means just one thing as far as foodies everywhere are concerned. The countdown to…
DairyFlavour trendsMultisensory
September 3, 2021

Lionel Richie have a new “All Night Love” ice cream flavor inspired by his favorite flavors as a kid | Today

Tyra Banks and Lionel Richie have teamed up for a new "All Night Love" ice cream flavor inspired by Richie's favorite flavors as a kid. Massimo Campana / SMiZE Cream Lionel…
FlavourFood trendsMultisensory
September 3, 2021

How to Teach Yourself to Try (and Like) New Foods | Lifehacker

It's OK to be a little picky about your food! But if you want to expand your palate, you can—even as an adult. Illustration: Benjamin Currie “Picky” eating isn’t just…
Flavour trendsInterestingMultisensory
August 30, 2021

Take a Culinary Journey in the New Flavors of Azeroth: The Official Cookbook — World of Warcraft | Blizzard News

Journey through Azeroth and prepare to feast on new culinary delights inspired by this officially-licensed World of Warcraft cookbook. In World of Warcraft: The New Flavors of Azeroth: The Official Cookbook, Pandaren…
Beverage trendsMultisensory
August 25, 2021

POPOPOPOPOP delivers soda with a sensory experience | The Gateway

Supplied: Mitchell Art Gallery, MacEwan University This soda is a sensory experience made in collaboration with sixth grade students and local artists. POPOPOPOPOP, a soda based on sound, is making…
August 25, 2021

Construction company in Poland creates flower-scented asphalt | NY Post

A construction site near a newly-opened portion of a ring road is seen in Warsaw city September 20, 2013.Reuters/Kacper Pempel Polish construction firm Budimex and refiner Lotos have created a…
Beverage trendsFlavour trendsMultisensory
August 18, 2021

Mariah Carey Announces Her Own Irish Cream Brand | Food & Wine

CREDIT: COURTESY OF BLACK IRISH Celebrity-owned spirits brands have been all the rage recently — and for the celebrities, why shouldn't they be? In 2018, George Clooney was named Forbes' highest-paid actor not due…
August 17, 2021

Smells like BBQ: Budweiser steps into branded candle market with Homesick collab | Morning Brew

Budweiser From that questionable “Scents of Normality” collection at the start of the pandemic to Babe Wine’s NFL scented candles, branded candles (brandles?) have been all the rage for a while now. So it’s…
DairyFlavour trendsMultisensory
August 16, 2021

Ben & Jerry’s creates limited-edition game for ice cream fans  | Surrey Live

The limited edition game is great fun for ice cream fans The Twisted Merry Dough Round was dreamed up to celebrate Ben & Jerry’s new Cookie Dough Twists Iconic ice…
August 12, 2021

Epson projection enhances 11-course tasting menu | AV Interactive

Six Epson laser projectors fixed with a UST ‘periscope’ lens, are providing a 360° experience designed by Sysco Productions at a new DC-Comics themed restaurant and bar venue in London.…
BeerBeverage trendsMultisensory
August 12, 2021

An experiential beer? Yes please! | Campaign US

SingleCut Beersmiths Making experiences useful and beneficial is how meaningful engagement occurs. Beer marketers have been pushing creative boundaries lately. In Argentina, Corona stocked all of its bottles with the…
August 11, 2021

Ikea loyal customers can now win a candle that smells like its famous meatballs | CNN

Ikea is famous for the Swedish meatballs served at its stores' cafeterias. Now, it's turning those meatballs customers love into ... scented candles. Ikea is offering meatball-scented candles as a prize in…
Beverage trendsFlavour trendsMultisensory
August 10, 2021

G Fuel Announces Two New Flavors Centered Around Venom | Bleeding Cool

Two flavors, two villains! Courtesy of G Fuel. In preparation for the new movie Venom: Let There Be Carnage, G Fuel has announced two new flavors centered around the Marvel character. The two…
July 28, 2021

Inside the strange, wobbly jelly revival | WIRED UK

CHRISTOPHER MITCHELL Jelly is finding favour among an increasingly discerning audience of grown-ups seeking a more subtle and sophisticated taste sensation Jelly is undergoing a quiet, wobbly renaissance. Facebook groups…
ChocolateFood scienceMultisensory
July 19, 2021

Choosing the right chocolate | Food Business News

Photo: ©SAARAAH97 - STOCK.ADOBE.COM Americans love their chocolate. It’s the go-to sweet indulgence for many. And it comes in several forms. Chips, chunks and blocks. Dark, milk and white chocolate.…
July 14, 2021

Iconic Iced Tea brand selling limited edition bikes for 99¢ to Canadians | NEWS 1130

Three limited edition bikes are inspired by three flavours of AriZona Hard. (Courtesy AriZona Hard) -One nostalgic iced tea brand is kicking summer into gear, by unveiling a collection of…
July 14, 2021

Vizzy Hard Seltzer is releasing a limited-edition line of seltzer-scented swimwear | JT Online

Here's something you probably never expected to be a thing: Seltzer-scented swimwear. Molson Coors' Vizzy Hard Seltzer is releasing a limited-edition line of one-piece swimming suits and swim trunks that "smells like its…
Food scienceMultisensory
July 13, 2021

Why Food Scientists Are Excited About A Natural Blue Food Dye | Forbes

Blue pigment. GETTY Since people tend to eat with their eyes first, the visual appearance of food matters. Food dyes have the ability to transform plain substances into intriguing creations…
July 9, 2021

DROP BY DOUGH launches doughnut-scented candles | Lifestyle Asia

As it turns out, you can have your candle and eat it too. Bangkok beloved doughnut store DROP BY DOUGH has launched doughnut-scented candles. Have you walked through the doors…
July 6, 2021

Forget cameras – Nikon has just launched a new range of candy! | Digital Camera World

(Image credit: Nikon) Nikon has released new chocolate, blueberry, chili, matcha, and brown sugar-flavored confectionary in Japan New cameras are all well and good, but Nikon has bucked the trend…
June 29, 2021

Decorating trends emphasize fun and color, along with minis. | Supermarket Perimeter

Source: Barry Callebaut As consumers begin to return to some sense of normalcy, in the wake of the COVID pandemic, decorating trends this summer are awakening with a sense of…
June 18, 2021

Not quite the sensory internet but Wok ‘n’ Stroll’s Karni Tomer creates virtual experiences so real you can taste them | WIT

IN the last 18 months our minds have been forcibly opened to the concept of virtual experiences of all kinds. From virtual concerts to virtual weddings, we’ve all become used…
June 16, 2021

Multisensory spaceship-like dining pods | Manchester Evening News

Lazerian's new pop-up (Image: Gu Photography ( You can pick a coloured - and scented - pod and have drinks and cake served to you Several futuristic, spaceship-like dining pods…
June 10, 2021

Human senses: the next battlefield for online retailers | Livemint

Istock It’s hard to find things that won’t sell online," Amazon’s founder Jeff Bezos once said. As the internet shrinks the world, it has expanded the size of markets. Covid…
Beverage trendsFlavour trendsMultisensory
June 8, 2021

Mountain Dew Adds New Baja Flash And Baja Punch Flavors As Part Of ‘Summer Of Baja’ Promotion | Chew Boom

Mountain Dew Adds New Baja Flash And Baja Punch Flavors As Part Of ‘Summer Of Baja’ Promotion Mountain Dew is celebrating the “Summer of Baja” by bringing back Baja Blast and Baja Blast Zero…
June 3, 2021

M&M’s mixes three flavors in one bag in two varieties – classic and peanut |

New M&M’S Mix combines three different M&M’S flavors all together in one bag, and M&M’S is celebrating by bringing together three musicians from three different cities to create a unique…