New survey by Symrise quantifies how food and pleasure experiences are connected

By Adi Menayang

- Last updated on GMT

Symrise quantifies how food and pleasure experiences are connected

Related tags Coffee

Global flavor company Symrise surveyed 1,300 Americans online to map out how food and pleasure is connected.

The study explores the moments and dimensions of food pleasure and covers specific categories including: Salty Snacks; Hot Tea or Coffee; Cereal; Soft Drinks; Sauces; Crackers; Soups; Fruit Juice; Chocolate Confectionery; Cookies; Yogurt; Ice Cream; Ready to Eat Meals; Sugar Confectionery; Chewing Gum; Ready to Drink Tea; Beer/Cider and Spirits/Mixed Drinks.

“First we did a diary with a smaller group of individuals using the flavor designer club as the qualitative initial phase of the survey,”​ Emmanuel Laroche, vice president of the group told FoodNavigator-USA. “[Then] it was all online for the 1,300 respondents for the quantitative part of the survey.”

The latter part of the study was a mix of multiple choice and word associations. “We had ad-libs that we created as well for the respondents to describe their most memorable pleasurable moments,”​ he added.

Key objectives of the Pure Pleasure study

Laroche explained that the input of 1,300 participants provided “a deeper understanding of the genuine pleasure derived from various food and beverage items.”​ The full report lists nine dimensions of pleasure based on nine consumer profiles, and focuses on 10 specific moments of 'pure pleasure.'

The Symrise research team identified the environment, the individual, and specific foods and beverages as dimensions of pleasure. Some key points that Symrise shared in its report:

  • Pleasure from the environment is directly tied to ambiance, and is experienced in feelings of peace and harmony and affected by sight, sound and balance. Some respondents reported that discovering new places is an important aspect of taking pleasure in the environment.
  • From an individual perspective, indulgence and ritual moments are associated with pleasure. Elements of remembering, surprise, and the comfort of being at home, repetition or anticipation of relaxing moments are associated with taking pleasure in food and drink.
  • Specific moments of pleasure were cited and included intimate sharing with another, family and friend get-togethers, celebrations, dining out, social fun, and entertaining. 
  • Exploring and experimenting with new foods and beverages were found to be pleasurable and described by some as an adventure in discovery. From the sensorial standpoint, the dimensions of pleasure include the sensation of euphoria in seeing and tasting, especially in foods and drinks that are perceived as rare and luxurious. 
  • Getting value from food and drink gave pleasure to some respondents, specifically identified in time needed for preparation and dollar savings in meals prepared at home or at economical venues such as state fairs.
  • The concept of indulgence was a recurring theme. Pleasure was experienced in both active and quiet moments, spanning social fun to times when sustenance or emotional eating is paramount. The study also included identification of the top pleasurable brands and the top pleasurable flavors.

Symrise has been using these findings to develop new flavor concepts; for example, building on the recurrent indulgence theme and specifically exploring the potential of indulgent coffees and teas.

Affogato (combining vanilla ice cream, hot espresso and amaretto), Mexican chocolate mocha with a hint of chili spice, frozen hot chocolate frappaccino with caramel and salted pretzel pieces are some of the latest indulgent coffee concepts. Mojito tea latte, limoncello tea latte, cucumber melon green tea, and tiramisu tea latte are among the many indulgent tea concepts that were also inspired by the study.

“Food and beverage manufacturers are encouraged to contact Symrise for a copy of the complete Pure Pleasure study,” ​Laroche said. “A Symrise flavor professional can demonstrate the innovative product development concepts that were inspired by this Pure Pleasure study.”

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