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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

Coffee and TeaFlavourMultisensory
July 14, 2022

Taiwanese tea-inspired perfume wins US award | Taipei Times

Photo courtesy of P.Seven A Taiwanese-made tea-based perfume won the Independent Award at the Art and Olfaction Awards (A+OA) in Miami, Florida, on Friday. Pan Seven International’s (P.Seven) Aged Tea…
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July 8, 2022

G FUEL Introduces Lemonade Inspired by ‘Thor: Love and Thunder’ |

Packaging for G FUEL Lightning Lemonade.G FUEL G FUEL has announced its new caffeine-free Hydration flavor, G FUEL Lightning Lemonade. Featuring a sweet and sour taste, G FUEL Lightning Lemonade…
June 25, 2022

Peroni’s New Perfume Collab Is Inspired By These Beer Cocktails | Tasting Table

Monica Schipper/Getty Images When you think of perfume scents, ones that are floral and sweet are probably the first that come to mind. Food and spice scented fragrances infused with…
June 9, 2022

Living la dolce Velveeta: New nail polish leaves your fingers smelling like melted cheese | USATODAY

Velveeta has teamed up with Nails Inc. to produce cheese-scented nail polish. The collection includes a two-pack of red and yellow nail polish ($15) – so you can make it look like…
June 7, 2022

You Wear What You Eat: China Can’t Get Enough of Food Collabs | Jing Daily

Luxury has long leveraged food brands to create multi-sensory experiences and appear more relatable. Here are some of the best collabs to come out of China. Photo: Zegl x HeyTea…
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June 7, 2022

Blue cocktails are having a moment | Today

Blue booze is back, baby.The Skylark Move over, espresso martinis. Dirty Shirley, we barely knew ye. This summer, the beverage world has a blue crush. In a slinky dress on…
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June 7, 2022

7-Eleven creates a fun way to talk about Slurpees » strategy | Strategy Online

7-Eleven is coining a new language to bring out the fun and playfulness to launch its latest Slurpee flavours. With its colourful, animated “Talk Slurpee to Mee” campaign, the convenience…
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May 27, 2022

Driscoll’s Tropical Bliss strawberries are summer’s sweetest treat | Foodsided

Summer berries are in season and the juicy fruit is waiting to be enjoyed. While Driscoll’s focuses on offering the finest berries, the leader in flavor is always looking to…
May 18, 2022

Magnum ice cream and Nails.INC teamed up to launch ‘chocolate-scented’ nail polish — and the colors are also really pretty | Yahoo

Credit: Magnum ice cream x Nails.INC Our team is dedicated to finding and telling you more about the products and deals we love. If you love them too and decide to purchase…
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May 17, 2022

Tim Hortons and Justin Bieber back with ‘Biebs Brew’ | CTV News

Tim Hortons and Justin Bieber are back with a new French vanilla-flavoured coffee. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Handout-Tim Hortons A match made in marketing heaven between Tim Hortons and Justin Bieber is…
May 16, 2022

Oreo’s New Pride Cookies Come Stamped with ‘Proud’ on Top |

CREDIT: NABISCO Oreo is embracing the rainbow this June. The cookie brand will celebrate the LGBTQ+ community next month by dropping an official retail Pride pack in partnership with PFLAG National. It's the…
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May 11, 2022

KD is debating the merits of its new flavours on Twitch | Strategy Online

Kraft Heinz brand KD is taking to Twitch to settle a debate about whether its new snack-sized cup flavours hold up to the original. The company is using the streaming platform…
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May 11, 2022

Doritos 3D Crunch hits a high note with its new multi- dimensional flavor | Foodsided

While Doritos has had a soundtrack to snack time, the latest flavor innovation from Doritos 3D Crunch has snack fans peering into the past and the upside down. Although some…
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May 9, 2022

The Benefits of Wine Include Activating Multiple Brain Regions | NOW

When wine connoisseurs discuss the complex flavors of a particular wine, they are sharing a multisensory experience that involves more brain regions than almost any other human activity. Whether you…
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May 4, 2022

Flavor trends: Fusion snacks tipped for multisensory eating experiences | Food Ingredients First

Bold, multidimensional snack flavors and formats are exciting consumers’ senses in the post-pandemic paradigm. This is especially evidenced by the rising popularity of fusion flavors and region-specific cuisine palates, as…
April 26, 2022

Perfect Pairings: New Course Explores the Link Between Wine and Music | UNLV

(UNLV Photo Services) Apparently, the philosopher and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson was onto something when he wrote, “Music and Wine are one.” The Aesthetics of Music and Wine, a course…
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April 26, 2022

Heinz Dip & Crunch sauce was inspired by TikTok | Fast Company

Over the past few years, food giant Heinz has mined the grassroots of condiment fandom to develop new products for the masses. In 2018, it conducted an online poll to…
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April 24, 2022

Absolut launches new vodka bottle design and flavours | Packaging News

The new bottle design matches the significant update to the Absolut Vodka original bottle in 2021. The new packaging tells the story of the flavor sensation inside, clearly signposting the…
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April 23, 2022

Measuring the sensory product experience | New Food Magazine

When considering the testing processes in food production, most minds will gravitate to laboratory analysis. Here, we find out about another important test – sensory experience and fulfilment – and how…
April 14, 2022

Dunkin’ and e.l.f. release a makeup line, and it smells like donuts | Deseret News

The e.l.f. x Dunkin’ makeup collection is shown, including coffee-inspired textures, glazed-up formulas and ultra-pigmented shades. E.L.F. “Wake up and makeup” is the newest collaboration from Dunkin’ and e.l.f. Cosmetics. The makeup line…
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April 8, 2022

Mountain Dew’s Newest Soda Is Pitch Black | ABC Action News

Copyright PepsiCo Two years after launching Mountain Dew-infused wings, the soda brand is teaming up once again with Buffalo Wild Wings, this time for a new drink flavor. Mountain Dew Legend is…
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April 6, 2022

Wine Bottle Stuns with Textured Design | Packaging Digest

A proprietary sculpturing technique creates intricate, life-like detail for the Crafters Union glass bottle. Constellation Brands’ beautiful, intricately textured glass bottle required some technical wizardry from Ardagh Glass Packaging. For…
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April 6, 2022

Dairy Queen’s New Fruity Blast Dipped Cone Is A Purple Springtime Treat | News Channel 5

Copyright Dairy Queen Photo by: Dairy Queen Days after celebrating the start of spring by handing out free ice cream, Dairy Queen is continuing the celebration with a new dipped cone flavor…
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March 3, 2022

Floral Lattes May Be The Prettiest Social Media Trend Of 2022 | Mashed

Oksana Shufrych/Shutterstock Coffee and lattes have long been a muse for social media. How could they not? Bright yellow turmeric lattes and pretty pink beetroot lattes do tend to photograph…
December 5, 2021

Chipotle is selling cilantro-infused soap — but it’s already sold… | NY Post

Cilantro recently added a cilantro-infused soap from their brand store, instigating the age-old argument over the soap-like taste of the culinary herb.Chipotle Chipotle has a swag store? Along with burrito…
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November 30, 2021

Multi-sensory experiences: “Texture is pushing the boundaries of indulgence | Food Ingredients First

Agrana Fruit is highlighting how texture in F&B is retaining its strength as a focus for innovation. The company underscores how this organoleptic property is “pushing back the boundaries of…
November 17, 2021

Urban Sophistication Turns Ice Cream Flavors Into Colorful iPhone Puffer Cases | HYPEBEAST

Community-based lifestyle label Urban Sophistication has returned with an all-new range of its best-selling iPhone Puffer Cases. The “Flavors” drop reimagines the one-of-a-kind accessory in five new colorways — Bubblegum, Frozen Sun,…
November 2, 2021

Remember the smells of the 1990s? Play-Doh Grown Ups captures them in new six-pack | Pennlive

The Play-Doh Grown Up Scents 90s edition is available from Amazon. Do you remember what the 1990s smelled like? Play-Doh does and it has released a new Grown Ups 90s edition…
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November 1, 2021

G Fuel Releases New Sonic Party Punch Flavor For 30th Anniversary | Bleeding Cool

Credit: G Fuel G Fuel and SEGA have partnered up again as the company has released the new Sonic Party Punch flavor this week. As part of the game's 30th Anniversary,…
October 25, 2021

How do sounds impact taste? Find out with Black Bottle’s ‘sonic seasoning’ playlist | Food & Drink

Tasting whisky has been given a scientific edge with the release of a new 'sonic seasoning' playlist. Black Bottle Whisky is taking the term ‘tasting with your eyes’ to a…